A study of two technology-enriched inclusion classrooms that promote learning for students with learning disabilities
Asplund, Sylvia Elisabeth
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There is limited research on the individual needs of students with learning disabilities and how computer-based technology can assist them in their education. The research questions are: How do teachers select, integrate, and implement computer-based technology to support the general education curriculum in an inclusive classroom? and What do teachers perceive as the learning benefits of using computer-based technology in the general education classroom for students with learning disabilities? The purpose of this study was to document instructional practices for integrating computer-based technology that are currently being implemented for students with learning disabilities in two inclusive elementary classrooms. This study also assessed the perceived learning benefits of using technology for students with learning disabilities. This study occurred in two inclusive third-grade classrooms in a rural school district. Data for this study were obtained through interview questions, classroom and computer lab observations, informal discussions, and examples of students' work related to technology. The students actively engaged in nineteen projects in each of the content areas of the third-grade curriculum by illustrating and organizing concepts in Kid Pix and PowerPoint, supporting the writing process with Word, and using the Internet. The teachers used a constructivist approach with the students. The teachers used the ASSURE model to help plan technology integration. Data were analyzed by reviewing the notes and audio-taped interviews for how the teachers selected and integrated computer-based technology learning activities; and reviewing the lessons and the student work for the perceived learning benefits. The teachers perceived learning benefits of using computer-based technology not only for the students with learning disabilities, but for all the students. Students benefited from the integration of technology through the use of authentic, meaningful, and interactive computer-based learning activities whereby they: demonstrated understanding content vocabulary and concepts; organized their thoughts to compose good quality paragraph writing; increased their social skills by interacting and working with their peers in a positive manner in the regular education classroom; enhanced their self-esteem when they confidently explained academic concepts and demonstrated knowledge verbally and on written assignments such as tests; produced neat, legible work; and increased their technology skills.