Technology to Facilitate the General Education Curriculum

Technology to Facilitate the General Education Curriculum

Cindy K. Sherman (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) and Susan De La Paz (University of Maryland, College Park, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-878-1.ch002
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Abstract

Information and Communication Technology is becoming an essential learning tool for teachers and students in the classroom. The use of Information and Communication Technology scaffolds learning in a pedagogically meaningful way and gives students with learning disabilities more equal opportunities in school. This chapter discusses ways in which Information and Communication Technology benefits students with special educational needs, both academically and socially. Various computer applications create greater possibilities for inclusion by fostering collaborative learning and enhancing peer interaction. New technology also allows students more autonomy in the writing process and helps students develop historical thinking skills.
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Narrative Analysis

Faux (2005) investigated ways in which middle school students with special educational needs used an Information and Communication Technology multimedia environment to produce stories. This author used a multimedia authoring software (TextEase2000) to assist students in their writing. Instruction was divided into two phases. Each phase consisted of six lessons: (a.) overview of the software and developing a resource bank, (b.) making collages to be used in the story, (c.) learning to use a scanner, (d.) video-recording acting and importing video clips into the software, (e.) adding components to the resource bank and starting the story, and (f.) completing the story. The purpose of the first phase was to teach students how to use the software. Thus, activities were based on work with which the students were familiar (i.e. Beowulf and The Pied Piper). During the second phase students were asked to write their own stories based on the theme of “finding things.” Students were asked to develop their own resource bank before writing their story. Disposable cameras were distributed and a story plan was provided to help students map out their ideas. Checklists were also provided to ensure that students considered all available multimedia components. The results of this study indicated that while two of the three students found it difficult to move away from a traditional way of writing, they were able to take advantage of certain aspects of the multimedia approach to create an interactive story or convey the genre. The third student relied entirely on the multimedia approach; this child used multimedia as a narrative device to develop an interactive story. Because the program offered written, aural, and pictorial representations, students were able to capitalize on their areas of strength. Faux’s research suggested that the multimedia software allowed students to create high-quality presentations, and contributed to students working more autonomously. She also found the software to be effective in scaffolding instruction, particularly in relation to spelling. In the end, the use of Information and Communication Technology enabled students to experience using language for information-giving purposes--modeled and scaffolded by the teacher/researcher--which consequently augmented their thinking and learning.

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