How to Overcome the Challenge of Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities to Use Technology

How to Overcome the Challenge of Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities to Use Technology

David Rago (National University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1177-0.ch008
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Teaching students how to use the technology is the first step to integrating the technology into instructional practice. This chapter shows how to teach students with a learning disability (LD) to use a web-based publishing tool using a simple strategy. The strategy is TAP(S)3. The strategy was developed on the principles of the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) model and the strategic instruction model (SIM). SRSD and SIM principles are evidence-based and focus on helping the struggling student succeed academically. SRSD and SIM focus intensively on writing instruction. The web-based publishing tool used as an example in this chapter is Book-Builder. Book-Builder was developed by CAST on the principles of universal design for learning (UDL). CAST is a nonprofit education research organization. Specific information about the organization can be found at
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A Case Study

Teaching students to write can be a struggle. Mr. MacIntosh (a pseudonym) started his teaching career as a third-grade teacher in a general education classroom. His path turned early in his career. Mr. MacIntosh ultimately spent more than 20 years as a special education teacher for students in resource programs and self-contained classrooms. He always needed new strategies that engaged them and motivated them to write. At the same time, Mr. MacIntosh needed effective ways to assess their writing and knowledge across the many content areas he covered, being in a self-contained special education classroom. One student unintentionally set Mr. MacIntosh on a path that led him to examine and use different educational technologies.

Tim (a pseudonym) was an eighth-grade student with a learning disability. He received special education services in a self-contained classroom. Tim only left the room for Science, Geography, lunch, and physical education, receiving instruction in these general education subjects with his peers. Although Tim earned passing grades in the self-contained classroom, he was failing his general education classes. He had difficulty taking notes and completing written assignments because of his learning disability in written language.

One day while observing Tim attempt a writing assignment, Mr. MacIntosh noticed Tim writing very slowly. He did not attempt cursive and painstakingly wrote each letter in manuscript form, finally completing one word. Tim frequently interrupted his writing to ask Mr. MacIntosh how to spell a word. Several times, he had to re-direct and re-focus Tim because he lost his train of thought while still holding his pencil in mid-air. Twenty minutes passed when Tim finally set down his pencil and proclaimed, he was finished! Mr. MacIntosh picked up his paper and noticed Tim had written only three sentences.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mnemonic: A way to remember a chunk of information by creating a word or words using the first letter of the key concepts.

Explicit Instruction: A method of instruction that is teacher-directed, structured, and sequential.

Flipped Classroom Model: A model of teaching and learning where the students watch assigned videos, complete assignments, and do assigned readings at home and complete whole and small group discussions and projects in the classroom. It is based on the concept that students will use the technology available in their homes and outside of school to do research and prepare for the next day’s discussions.

Learning Disability: A processing disorder that may affect a person’s writing ability, mathematics calculation, mathematics problem-solving, reading fluency, and/or reading comprehension.

Challenge: An obstacle or hindrance that interferes with a person’s ability to move forward.

Evidence-Based: An instructional intervention or learning strategy based on a significant amount of high-quality research with findings showing the intervention and/or strategy can be successful with student populations identified in the research.

Strategy: A plan involving specific steps that comprise an overall procedure for moving forward and/or accomplishing a specific task.

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