The question that I generated for this standard was: How can I utilize technology to help my self-contained special education students’ work towards meeting their writing IEP goals? A challenge that I see in teaching special education is figuring out how to simultaneously meet each students’ unique needs. Often times students with special education needs struggle with hand writing legibly and spelling. These struggles can be minimized by using technology that allows for spell checking and typing. One such tool that is great for helping struggling students’ is called Co:writer. Co:writer is a software system that is designed specifically for students with special needs. The way it works is students begin typing and the system predicts what the student might be trying to type. This is done by providing them with options to choose from. All of my students struggle with spelling and they could all benefit from this. Often times the writing process stops all together as they ponder spelling. I found out about Co:writer through an article by Koppenhaver and Wollack. Koppenhaver and Wollack have designed a writing program for students with special needs that utilizes e-pals and blogging to increase the writing efficacy of their students. Barbetta and Unzueta found that computer graphic organizers enhance students with special needs ability and enjoyment of writing persuasive pieces.
From our assigned reading by Sadik, I have learned about the great educational tool of digital storytelling. I found this quote to be particularly applicable “Barrett (2006) found that digital storytelling facilitates the convergence of four student-centered learning strategies: student engagement, reflection for deep learning, project-based learning, and the effective integration of technology into instruction” (p 490).
By participating in our class google community, l learned from Courtney Swanson about a site called Penzu in the classroom. Penzu allows Teachers’ to provide students’ with real time feedback and also potentially increase parental involvement. Parents and students could look online to check out the students’ work that is stored in the cloud and view the comments I am making in response to their writing.
Utilizing different technological software programs and communication systems will allow for all students to advance in the writing process regardless of the differences in their IEP goals. The question for me turns towards finding resources to acquire access in order to utilize these technological tools and means of communication. It would be great to have computers for every child but at my current school we are very far from this. However, the rush by the students to use the computers that we do have is very apparent. Being able to utilize the computers in ways that can harness that excitement and assist students in learning would be an extremely valuable direction towards meeting educational goals and increasing technological competency.
References and Links
Barbetta, Patricia M. Unzueta, Caridad H.; The Effects of Computer Graphic Organizers on the Persuasive Writing of Hispanic Middle School Students with Specific Learning Disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, v27 n3 p15-30 2012. 16 pp.
Koppenhaver, David A. Wollak, Barbara A.; Developing Technology-Supported, Evidence-Based Writing Instruction for Adolescents with Significant Writing Disabilities. Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, v7 n1 p1-23 Sum 2011. 23 pp.
Sadik, A.(2008). Digital storytelling: A meaningful technology integrated approach for engaged student learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56, 487–506