Digital Communication in the Inclusive Classroom

Digital Communication in the Inclusive Classroom

Ruxandra Folostina, Cristina Dumitru Tabacaru
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8247-3.ch014
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Digital communication is being extensively used, and during COVID-19 pandemic, it has transformed the way teaching is delivered and how learning happens which became even more problematic for children with learning difficulties. The digitalization of education during the lockdown period has forced teachers, children, and parents to develop and enhance their digital skills to maintain and keep ensuring efficient learning. Digital communication can be provided in the educational system by the simple use of email or WhatsApp groups up to the integration of complex digitalized learning programs and software adapted to the specific educational needs of each student. Being digital natives, students nowadays seem more engaged if learning is mediated by the use of digital communication tools. They are opened and interested in participating in educational activities that are technology-based.
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The 21st century is a digital age and this increasingly digital environment affects the way students learn and interact with the information, affects the way the learning is delivered and it changes the future market requirement toward competences needed for future citizens. Even before going mainly online due to COVID-19 pandemic, reports (OECD, 2015) raise the concern for student’s welfare and their academic achievement due to excessive use of digital technologies for study or other leisure activities. Studies (Buzzai, 2021) show a decrease in interest in studies and an increasingly reduced assumption of responsibilities caused by long hours spent on electronic devices. Moreover, inappropriate design of online learning delivery was pinpoint as an important factor for the cognitive burden (Chu, 2014). In this fast-changing environment and shifting to hybrid and online environment, experts (Gruber, 2001; Breckwoldt,, 2014) urge the need to develop new procedures, new routine and recommend to implement different approaches to knowledge organization and teaching. The disadvantages of the online environment are well known and confirmed by an increasing number of studies. The need to accept and use digital tools is unanimous. ICT has the power to connect teachers and learners form different cultures and backgrounds (Blomgren, 2021). Learning connects learners through communication and interaction and by diversity provided by online tools and digital communication, by connecting professionals and learners at global level enrich the learning process (Hattie, 2009; Kereluik et al. 2013), by engaging learners from different cultures and geographical locations in interaction and collaboration activities (O'Dowd, 2018). Another positive impact of digital tools is that they have played a great role in providing access to knowledge and competence building for students with different impairments by developing different digital tools and new high-tech devices (Blomgren, 2021). Nowadays, a huge number of countries have a positive experience of using these technologies in special and inclusive education.

One priority in inclusive education is creating a barrier-free environment (Persson et al., 2015) that would make possible to ensure the full “inclusion” of people with disabilities in educational settings. To obtain a full-fledged education for people with disabilities, assistive technologies are now being created and used to ensure comfortable conditions in learning in everyday life settings. Studies (Healy, Jahn & Frant, 2010) recommend the urge to rethink the existing curriculum and students’ engagement assessment with the online environment (Adam & Tatnall, 2017).

Digital technologies make a huge contribution to overcoming educational and social barriers; they have already become familiar daily tools for solving the simplest tasks in a situation of inclusive education. For example, keeping a class blog takes on additional meaning, because in this way a platform is created for equal communication between the entire class as a whole, and children who find it physically difficult to communicate at school. The use of different learning platforms (Bjekić, et. al., 2014) helps track the progress of each student. It becomes especially important when children with different educational needs are involved in the class. Today, it is unthinkable to talk about the quality of life of people with disabilities (visually impaired, with neurological disorders, with speech and language disorders, physically impaired etc.) without the use of special technical means depending on the type and degree of functioning restrictions (Sarraipa, 2012). Some examples of digital devices are programs that can convert text to speech, or text-speech connectors, speech synthesizers that can change the life of children with specific educational needs and provide independency in learning (Shahid, 2021). Such technologies are actively used to transfer information and ensure the interaction of the teacher and it applies to all learners, including students with specific educational needs by providing many positive social and behavioral opportunities (Tu, 2021).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Lesson: The form of a remote occupation conducted within a certain temporary framework, in which the teacher leads the individual and group activities of students to create an eigenous educational product to master the students of the material being studied, the upbringing and development of creative abilities.

Digital Educational Environment: An open set of information systems designed to provide various tasks of the educational process.

Hyperlink: In computer terminology - part of a hypertext document referring to another element (command, text, header, note, image) in the document itself, to another object (file, directory, application) located on the local disk or in the computer network, or on the items of this object.

Electronic Library: An ordered collection of heterogeneous electronic documents (including books) equipped with a navigation and search tool. It can be a website where various texts are gradually accumulated (more literary, but also any others up to computer programs) and media files, each of which is self-sufficient and at any time can be in demand by the reader. Electronic libraries can be universal, seeking to the widest choice of material (as a library Moshkova or Librusk), and more specialized, as a fundamental electronic.

Database: Shared logically related data set (and description of this data) designed to meet information needs.

Educational Content: A structured subject content used in the educational process, as well as information resources, online platforms, and services.

Data Bank: A set of one or several databases and controls (manipulation) data.

Digital Educational Platform: Remote and electronic support for learners and teachers.

Information Technologies: A wide class of disciplines and areas of activity related to management technologies and processing, as well as data creation, including with the use of computing technology. Recently, computer technologies have understood under information technology. In particular, IT is dealt with computers and software for storage, transformation, protection, processing, transmission and receipt of information. Computer technology and programming specialists are called IT specialists.

Teleconference: A meeting, whose participants are geographically removed from each other and which is conducted sing telecommunications. Teleconferences are divided into audio conferencing (using voice transmission tools) and video conferencing (using video links).

Distance Learning: A focused, especially organized process of interaction between participants in the educational process, which is conducted with the help of digital technologies. Remote format and other types of learning provide for all components of the system: goals, content, methods, organizational forms and means. Distance learning is a set of information technologies that deliver trained volume of the material under study, the interactive interaction of the student and teacher in the learning process, providing trained opportunities for independent work on the development of the material being studied, as well as in the learning process.

Content: Any information and significant content of the information resource (for example, newspapers, logs, books, web pages, etc.) - all information that reader/listener / viewer can use at its discretion, according to GK and Ukrf.

Communication: Exchange of information.

ICQ: A program for exclusive messaging. Program for Internet communication in real time.

Chat: Message messaging via a computer network in real time, as well as software that allows you to organize such communication. A characteristic feature is to communicate in real time or close to it, which distinguishes the chat from the forums and other “slow” funds. The word Chat means a group communication, although they can also include the exchange of text “one to one” through instant messaging programs, for example, XMPP, ICQ or even SMS.

Website: A set of electronic documents (files) of a private person or organization in a computer network, united under one address (domain name or IP address). The forum is a class of web applications for organizing communication of website visitors. Forum offers a set of sections for discussion. The work of the forum is to create users in sections and subsequent discussion within these topics. Separately taken the topic, in fact, is a thematic guest book. Common forum hierarchy is Sections ? Topics ? Messages.

Communication Tools: All verbal and non-verbal ways to transfer information between two and more participants in the communication process (Skype, Zoom, video calls, etc.).

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