Lesson 4: Effective Uses for Technology to Promote Literacy in Students with Disabilities
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Effective Uses for Technology
Adapting materials requires an understanding of each student's strengths, needs, and interests, and then identifying the most effective tools for meeting those needs. (Carnahan et al., 2012) Incorporating technology only works when it is done effectively. Using a website or a tool just because it looks fun, doesn't mean that it will be beneficial. Often times, if technology isn't used properly it can have adverse affects on learning. It is important to note that any technology being integrated into the classroom must be properly taught. Don't just assume that the students know how to use a computer, or iPad. Set aside time to model the technology and teach the students how to effectively use it.
Educational technology has evolved tenfold and today, we are fortunate enough to have a full range of technology tools and resources at our fingertips. The question is, how do we effectively incorporate technology into lessons in order to optimize learning? Effective uses will be the same whether you are incorporating technology into a general education classroom, a self-contained classroom, or an inclusion classroom. Here are 5 tips for successfully integrating technology into daily lessons:
Make Sure Technology is Appropriate
Before deciding to add technology to the classroom, it is best to research the products available. Try using the technology beforehand to assess whether it addresses the goals you intended. Make sure the technology is appropriate for each type of learning style, cognitive ability, and needs of the students. Simple put: You must know your students before choosing technology that can better assist them.
Avoid Using Technology as a Distraction
This is extremely important when dealing with students with disabilities. Even the most attentive students can become easily distracted and lose focus when technology is used incorrectly. Technology should not be used as a way to "keep" students attention, but rather as a means by which to "engage" them. It is also important to make sure that students have an active part in the learning process when using technology. Technology can be a great tool to assist with instruction, but it can never replace effective teaching. Don't let the technology become the teacher.
Mix Old Teaching Methods with New Technology
Technology is most effective when utilized with traditional teaching methods. By providing students with both traditional methods of teaching and advanced technology, you are offering them the best-of-both-worlds. This will allow students to learn more, recall information, transfer information, and become critical problem solvers.
Develop Hands-on Lessons Using Technology Tools
We know that children learn differently. Technology can be used to combine all of the best learning resources into one. Technology allows you to integrate a mix of tactile, visual, and auditory modalities into daily lessons. Interactive educational games are often successful. They promote learning by engaging students and piquing their interest.
Let The Students Decide on the Technology
One of the best ways for deciding what technology to integrate in the classroom, is by allowing the students to try it out. This allows you to see how well the students are responding to the technology and whether it will be a successful addition to the lesson.
Engagement and motivation are crucial components for children as they learn. Both of these components are often lacking in students with disabilities, making it even more important for the teacher to find ways to enhance them. Fit the student with the right technology and you can allow them to reach their potential and unlock their creative ability.
Lesson 4 Reflection
Before completing the final activity for this course, see how well you can answer the following questions.
- What are some effective ways to incorporate technology into the classroom?
- How can technology hinder learning when integrated ineffectively?
- Are you more comfortable using technology to assist struggling students?
Show What You Know
Create a mini lesson plan that incorporates technology, to teach an aspect of literacy to a student(s) with disabilities. Include the following:
- Grade Level
- Integrated Technology
You may use this space to complete your work.