Technology-Enhanced Learning: The Introduction and Use of Information and Communication Technology in Special Education

Technology-Enhanced Learning: The Introduction and Use of Information and Communication Technology in Special Education

Adrian F. Ashman (The University of Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch057
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Abstract

Small, modestly funded and resourced schools can be disadvantaged by limited access to information and communication technology (ICT). This chapter outlines a two-year project conducted in six small special schools located in metropolitan and rural communities. The project was designed to increase the participating schools’ ICT capabilities and promote the use of technology to deliver the curriculum in efficient and appealing ways to their students with a diversity of intellectual and behavioral difficulties. An ICT specialist supported the schools over the course of the project and promoted the introduction of Universal Design for Learning. At the conclusion of the project all schools had made notable gains in acquiring state-of-the-art technology. Teachers and students had become capable and enthusiastic users of hardware and a range of operating and educational software.
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Background

Federal and State governments in Australia and in many other countries have emphasised the importance of ICT in the continued development of the national economy (e.g., Department of Education, Science and Training, 2001). In accord with this, many school communities moved quickly to develop hardware and software resources to assist in the delivery of the curriculum and assess students’ learning outcomes. Yet despite the increasing presence of computers in classrooms and the rapid expansion of the Internet, computers are still not regularly or consistently used in many classrooms (Baskin & Williams, 2006; Reynolds et al., 2003). It is keenly recognized that even when teachers use ICT in their teaching, they are not only under-using this communication medium with which their students are familiar and comfortable, but in doing so, they risk under-preparing other students for new ways of learning and gaining access to publicly available knowledge (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, 2003; Fleming, Motamedi, & May, 2007; Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008; Oliver, 2005; Rablin, 2006).

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