ICT Special Educational Needs

Contents

  • 1 The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs
  • 2 Chapter 1:
  • 3 Introduction
  • 4 1.1 Background
  • 5 1.2 The Research Organisation and Aims
  • 6 The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs CHAPTER 2:
  • 7 Literary Review
  • 8 2.1 Introduction
  • 9 2.2 The Information Supermarket Highway
  • 10 2.3 The Technological Pedagogical Debate
  • 11 New technologies can stimulate the development of intellectual skills
  • 12 2.4 Scaffolding Learning Using ICT
  • 13 2.5 The Potential of ICT Supporting SEN
  • 14 2.6 The Categories of ICT to Support SEN Pupils
  • 15 2.6.1 ELEMENT 1:
  • 16 Using a Facilitating Tutor Programme to Reinforce Learning
  • 17 2.6.2 ELEMENT 2:
  • 18 Improving Learning Experiences through Exploratory Learning
  • 19 2.6.3 Element 3:
  • 20 Accessing Life Long Learning through Communication Tools
  • 21 2.6.4 Element 4:
  • 22 Providing Assessment Opportunities
  • 23 2.7 Matching Technology Solutions to SEN
  • 24 2.8 The SEN Context
  • 25 Cognition and Learning Difficulties
  • 26 2.10 Possibility of Meeting the Challenge
  • 27 2.11 Focus on Dyslexia
  • 28 2.11.1 Learning Difficulty or Learning Difference?
  • 29 2.11.3 The Role of ICT in Supporting Dyslexia
  • 30 The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs
  • 31 CHAPTER 3:
  • 32 Research Design and Methodology
  • 33 3.1 Interpretive Research Paradigm
  • 34 3.2 Research Design – Qualitative Research
  • 35 3.3 Research Strategy – Qualitative Case Study
  • 36 3.4 Criticism of the Case Study
  • 37 3.5 Methods of Data Collection
  • 38 3.5.1 Document Analysis
  • 39 Documents Analysed Pre-Intervention:
  • 40 3.5.2 Literature Review
  • 41 3.5.3 Participant Observations
  • 42 3.5.4 Informal and Semi-Structured Interviews
  • 43 3.5.5 Questionnaires
  • 44 3.5.6 Pre-test and Post-test Method
  • 45 3.6 Methods of Data Analysis
  • 46 3.6.1 Credibility
  • 47 3.6.2 Reliability and Validity
  • 48 3.6.2.1 Member Checking
  • 49 3.6.2.2 Collaboration /Collegiality
  • 50 3.6.2.3 Reflexive Notes
  • 51 3.6.2.4 Long Term Observation
  • 52 3.6.2.5 Triangulating Data
  • 53 3.6.2.6 Dual Data Approach
  • 54 3.7 Ethical Issues
  • 55 The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs CHAPTER 4:
  • 56 The Case Study Report
  • 57 4.1 The Case Study Context
  • 58 4.2 The Pupil Profile
  • 59 4.3 The Class Teacher and Teaching Assistant
  • 60 4.4 The Intervention Strategies
  • 61 4.4.1The Writing Tools
  • 62 Word Processor
  • 63 Word Banks
  • 64 Spell Checker
  • 65 Electronic Writing Frames
  • 66 4.4.2 The Visual and Auditory Tools
  • 67 Interactive Whiteboard Teacher Techniques and Skills
  • 68 Multi-Media Resources
  • 69 Natural Reader – Text To Speech Tool
  • 70 Mind Mapping Software
  • 71 Visual Alterations
  • 72 4.4.3 The Development Tasks
  • 73 Interactive Spelling Activities
  • 74 Interactive Reading Activities
  • 75 Typing Tools and Software
  • 76 4.4 Securing Intervention Success
  • 77 4.5 The Results from the Case Study
  • 78 4.5.1 Intervention Summary
  • 79 4.5.2 Participant Responses
  • 80 4.5.3 The Pre-test and Post-test Comparison
  • 81 4.6 Case Study Summary
  • 82 The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs
  • 83 Conclusions
  • 84 5.1 Overview
  • 85 5.2 Summary of Research Findings
  • 86 5.3 Considering Limitations of the Research
  • 87 5.4 Recommendations

The Potential of ICT Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs

Chapter 1:

Introduction

1.1 Background

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the use of computers in education and offers enormous potential to teachers and pupils. There is a growing number of consistent evidence which shows that ICT can and does improve learning outcomes, particularly in the core subjects of English and Mathematics (Cox et al, 2003). Providing high quality software is matched to the specific needs of the individual, it can act as an effective and powerful tool in learning. While it cannot replace high quality teaching, it can enhance the learning process. The application of ICT to teaching and learning can provide many benefits such as, facilitating communication, increase access to information, improve motivation, increase problem solving capabilities and enable deeper understanding of complex ideas.

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ICT can provide pupils with special educational needs improved access to learning and areas of the curriculum which may have been previously inaccessible. According to Westwood (2003), “The largest single group of students with special needs comprises those with general and specific learning difficulties that are not related to any disability or impairment. Estimates suggest that this may be close to 20 per cent of the school population. These learning difficulties most frequently manifest themselves as problems in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills’ which impact adversely on a child’s ability to learn in most subjects across the curriculum.” (Westwood, 2003, P5) The Audit Commission reports that one in five children in England and Wales has Special Educational Needs (SEN). This includes students with serious physical or learning difficulties but also many students whose reading, writing and numeracy skills develop slowly. Special needs include conditions such as dyslexia, physical disabilities, speech and language disorders, visual impairment, hearing loss, difficulties in communication, and emotional and behavioural difficulties. In recent years, there has been an increase in evidence that technology can help these children overcome their communication and physical difficulties, so that they can be included in lesson activities and access a wider curriculum, as suggested by the Irish body, the Education of Science Department (ESD) in The Learning-Support Guidelines (2000), “‘Interactive computer-based systems allow the possibility of individualising the educational process to accommodate the needs, interests and learning styles of individual pupils. Individualised planning is fundamental to the successful use of ICT in supplementary teaching as it is to other forms of Learning Support. The planning process would include identifying a pupil’s individual learning needs and considering how ICT might be used to meet those needs.” (ESD, 2000, P86-87) Every learner has an entitlement to all the elements of cognitive, literacy and cultural learning. This belief is generally shared by all working with learners who experience any kind of difficulty, for whatever reason. The introduction of the national Curriculum and the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (DfE, 1994), superseded by the new Code of Practice (2002), have given teachers the opportunity to put this clearly into practice because they provide and support a curriculum for all. It is explicit in the National Curriculum that all learners have a right to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which makes it difficult to exclude any learners from this entitlement. Stansfield (2001) believes that incorporating ICT support strategies can be advantageous in making this occur. “For learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN), the use of ICT can convert this entitlement to reality. The National Curriculum makes clear in each subject document that ICT should be used where appropriate, to support this process.” (Stansfield, 2001, P5) The National Curriculum (1999) identifies with this and makes clear in each subject document that ICT should be used where appropriate, to support this process. Appropriate provision should be made for pupils who need to use: · Means of communication other than speech, including computers, technological aids, signing, symbols or lip-reading; · Technological aids in practical and written work; · Aids or adapted equipment to allow access to practical activities with and beyond school (National Curriculum, 1999) In Wales, the government have recently put forward their vision for education for Wales in the 21st Century, with a far stronger emphasis on including all learners and the use of ICT to support this. The Learning Country: Vision into Action, (DELLS, 2006) highlights the need for a learner-centred curriculum if standards are to be raised and all learners’ experiences of education improved. The document makes clear that all learners means just that – including pupils with learning difficulties, specific disabilities and motivation problems; those who are gifted and talented, from different ethnic/cultural groups and looked after children. This vision was further realised and put into place through the National Curriculum for Wales 2008, further emphasising the importance of these key issues that are central to my research. The document Making the Most of Learning (2008a) clarifies this, suggesting that the… “…development and application of thinking, communication and skills across the curriculum for all learners, schools should choose material that will: · provide a meaningful, relevant and motivating curriculum · meet the specific needs of learners and further their all-round development. So that the revised national curriculum subject orders and frameworks are truly learner-centred,” (DELLS, 2008a, P4) Legislation promotes the notion that students with SEN should have access to ICT. ICT is incorporated into the National Curriculum and therefore access should be made to a range of devices to promote inclusion. Access devices, such as switches, keyboard alternatives, key-guards and joy-sticks can help learners with physical difficulties to use a computer, and enable them to access the same curriculum as their peers. Pupils, who have literacy difficulties or an impaired visual disability, should also have access to enlarged texts or speech devices and equipment in order that it is possible to hear the words and text in the way that children who do not have SEN, can read without encountering any problems. For some students technology may be the only way to ensure they can make their thoughts and needs known. For them, access to appropriate ICT-based solutions possibly provides the only chance of participating in society and realising their full potential. Given the vital role that ICT can play in helping children with special needs to communicate and be involved in learning, it is disappointing that there is relatively little research published in academic journals regarding the use of ICT to support inclusive practice. Many sources of information include reports from charities and policy organisations with expertise in the area of special needs. Amongst these groups there are a growing number of small-scale case studies being undertaken (BECTA, BDA), showing the difference that ICT can make to individuals both at school and at home. Many of these case studies are powerful evidence of the potential that technology has in making a profound difference for students. Such studies may also provide teachers with examples of the use of different types of ICT in varying circumstances, some of which may be applicable to their own students. Hence even though these case studies may be small-scale, they can be of significant value. The promise that technology brings to education has yet to be truly implemented across all schools successfully which is perplexing due to the strong evidence that permeates throughout educational research and government policy, even though minimal. There are clearly many obstacles or barriers for schools to progress with the successful application of ICT for supporting their learners, whether this is due to financial support, time, misguidance or even technology overload it is unclear. Therefore I needed to carry out my own research to investigate the potential of ICT supporting pupils with SEN and share my findings with others to support the development of ICT based pedagogy.