We frequently write about the importance of allowing students with special needs to learn in the least restrictive environment possible. And yet, it is not difficult to acknowledge that integrating special needs kids into mainstream classrooms can pose unique challenges for teachers. For better and for worse, we live in an age that is increasingly defined by use of individual electronic devices. When it comes to special education, use of these devices can significantly benefit students.
When students in any given classroom are taking advantage of individual electronics in their attempts to learn new material and to reinforce material that has already been taught, the experience of each student can be somewhat individualized. A student identified as educationally gifted can sit next to a student with special needs and they can both learn on their devices at a pace appropriate for each. They are able to reap the benefits of socialized education while learning material that is appropriately challenging for each of them.
Assistive technology can also aid certain special needs students in an integrated setting. Students who are impaired in visual and/or auditory ways can use an increasingly advanced array of technology to stay on pace with the rest of the class when it might otherwise be difficult to do so.
Many Americans parents and educators are increasingly frustrated at the proliferation of personal electronics in numerous aspects of childhood. However, when it comes to special education these devices can serve as a way to bring children together and as a way to make education that much more accessible.
Source: EdSurge, “‘Bridging the Gap’: Technology in Special Education,” Charley Locke, Nov. 26, 2014