Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Educational Technology for Students With Special Needs

As many of you know, my journey down the organizing road started with my son. My constant search to find ways to untangle his school world led me to uncover many tools available on the technology systems he uses every day. Who knew that his iPad and iTouch would become his constant companions!

iPad Apps

More and more schools are allowing students to use their iPads and iPod Touches in the classrooms, and therefore these types of educational applications are growing by leaps and bounds. For students with special needs specifically, check out iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps for Special Education, a list compiled by assistive technology specialists and broken down by category such as math, writing, art, etc. These apps are truly life changing for the special needs student.

Also be sure to check out "The iPad: a Near-Miracle for My Son with Autism". Written from a mother's perspective about her autistic son's use of assistive technology and educational apps. She offers great suggestions and even videos of her son using various apps.

There are also many apps available to middle and high school students on their iPads that help make learning interactive and engaging. The Elements(exploring the Periodic Table), and Alien Equation(games that teach math skills), are just some of the apps that students might enjoy.

There are so many new educational apps appearing every day that it would be prudent to check out reviews first, particularly ones that teachers have put their stamp of approval on. I Education Apps Review has a collection that should help you get started.

Cell Phone Apps For Students with ADHD

I spend a lot of my time working with high school students to assist them with paper and time management skills. The learning has really been a two-way process as my students are always sharing with me their favorite cell phone features that benefit their learning, time management, and study skills. Other than the basics, such as calendars and alarms, here are some of their favorites:


Do I need to say more? If they are allowed to carry their phone to class, then using the camera feature to snap photos of the blackboard or SMART Board after class will ensure that they don't miss important class notes or assignments. In addition, photos can also serve as a useful visual reminder of what a student needs to get done. For instance, a photo of the student's soccer gear laid out will act as a reminder of what needs to be packed up before heading off to practice.

Text Messaging

Yes, you heard me correctly. Students can use Google SMS to get definitions, facts, and conversations sent directly to their phones. Online to-do lists such as Remember the Milk (Love!) can send alerts or an instant message reminding students of an upcoming project, deadline, test or appointment. Students can even receive flashcards and study materials directly to their phone allowing them to study wherever they are.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Effects of Technology on Education

Education has changed significantly in the last twenty years. One of the main reasons education has undergone so many changes is because of technological development. In 1990, computers and other forms of technology served a minimal role in the classroom. Today, many if not most college students attend class with a laptop. I am writing about some of the biggest advantages technology gave to education.

Technology has made research much easier. Before online Encyclopedias, Google Scholar, JSTOR, and other online research tools were available, students were forced to spend numerous hours in the library. With the new tools, students can conduct research faster in the comfort of their homes. With Google and other search engines, students can find relevant information faster and more efficiently. Also, there is no more need for intensive memorization as information is more readily available.

New also technology allows for a faster, more efficient, and more interactive classroom experience. With Powerpoint presentations and projectors, there is no need for blackboards and whiteboards. With clickers, students can take quizzes during the classroom.

These developments also help improve tutoring services. Online tutoring programs are becoming available. One-on-one in-home tutoring programs are also being aided these developments. Tutors can bring laptops to sessions allowing them to look up information, and show examples to the student more easily.

Wi-fi technology allows students to study in more comfort and a more ergonomic setting.

New mathematical software such as Maple and Mathematica allows students to make a computer algebra computations more easily. Software like Matlab and Scilab allows students to make numerical computations more easily. There is no more need for a line rule. Advanced Texas Instrument and Casio calculators allow students to solve equations and produce graphs. Online software such as Webassign allows students to submit mathematics assignments online with instant feedback.

The internet allows students to read books and educational supplements at home. There is no need to go to a bookstore or library. Since many of these sources are open source or funded by advertising, students can access these materials for free. Wikipedia, Wikibooks are good examples. Students can learn more without leaving their house.

College applications and job applications can now be complete online. Students can deliver important paperwork to universities and employers at a much faster rate.

Online education allows more students to get an education. Handicapped students, students that have to travel a lot, and students with jobs can now complete their degrees wherever they go with a flexible schedule and often at their own pace. Due to its lower costs, online education also benefits lower-income students.

Technological development allowed the creation of new IT jobs and improved economic development in general.

Not all effects of technology on education are positive. Technology also allows students to cheat more easily. However, new technology allows instructors to detect plagiarism. Technological developments can also discourage critical thinking since answers are more readily available. Technology also encourages students to spend their time doing other activities such as playing video games and participating in social networking.