Technology is a great resource for teachers. There are several effective ways for teachers to combine English and Language Art instruction with technology. First and foremost, teachers can create everyday activities through technological software. They can also teach the children several different skills through technology. They can develop reading skills and assess decoding skills. I know several children in the computer lab use eBooks constantly to read different books online instead of having to check out multiple books or buy books. There are also kindles just for reading that teachers can use when necessary. Teachers also have access to programs to assess students reading skills such as the Accelerated Reader program that will test a students’ knowledge on a book. Secondly, a teacher can improve student’s literacy skills through technology. Networked literacy projects Teachers can use activities with interactive storybooks and talking books, programs for reading management and intervention programs, digital storytelling, connect to online reading materials, writing blogs, video projects to motivate writing, and threaded discussions. The school that I currently work at uses a program called Edmodo. Every week I help students in the computer to complete their teacher’s assignments. The language arts teachers give several different unique assignments to improve student’s skills. This week the students watched a video and responded to a question based off the video’s content. They have also opened files to learn about different characters then go and apply it in the classroom. Being able to type assignments on books or other activities given to them through Edmodo, gives the teacher more time not having to grade papers with sloppy handwriting or make copies over and over again. Overall, technology can tremendously improve students writing skills. Students learn how to correct mistakes through Word software’s. There are even games that students can play to put together correct sentence structures. There are different software’s to create web maps for students to prewrite. A student can easily revise work as well once it is typed, and they do not have to spend a lot of time rewriting and erasing over and over again. Publishing papers to teachers is more professional, and it creates a solid record for the future.
Even though technology is a great asset, there are still current issues affecting the acquisition and use of technology in special education. Some of the issues include legal and policy directives which include the Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities (Tech Act) which provides funding for statewide systems and services and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which is an individual education plan (IEP) that considers assistive technology. Problems have also aroused concerning the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) to document meeting performance criteria and focus attention on student groups. There is a need for trained personnel, since most teachers begin a teaching career with little technological background. I know for me, I am the computer lab instructor, and although I have not had many technology related classes, I am still well more advanced that most of the other teachers in the school. Teachers should know how to enhance their own productivity, enhance the effectiveness of instruction, and use assistive technology for students. There is also an increasing number of disabled students in the school system with no adequate systems. Inclusive schools are having trouble because they must have education participation through self-contained, mainstreaming, and inclusion classrooms, but majority of the school day is spent in general education classrooms. Many of the classrooms must be modified for proper access and need more technological support. There have also been curb cuts to education, and web accessibility is also a problems. Students with disabilities and their teachers who do have access to the internet explore applications of assistive, instructional, and productivity. Students have improved functional, reading, writing, and math skills through software’s such as interactive story books, word predictions, specialized calculators, and games. Students with physical disabilities have also been able to use joy sticks to improve their abilities. Sensory disabilities have been made easier as well through canes and sensor technology, screen readers, screen magnification, FM amplification systems, and visual feedback. There are also strategies for at risk students like reminder services, word prediction, manipulatives, locus of control, and digital text. Gifted students use electronic communities, research, and interactive and multimedia presentations.
There is no doubt that no matter what circumstances that a student may face, technology can be helpful in their abilities to be a successful person both in and out of school. There are tons of ways that teachers can incorporate technology into their teaching no matter the subject. I find technology very useful in the classroom, and I see firsthand in the computer lab what all students are able to learn through technology.