A check-in from your student assistant: School Daze with Talya Lippman | Herald Community Newspapers
Technology is used in today’s classrooms just as much as it is in work, personal finance, and various other areas of life. What can be found in a backpack today is completely different than what was found 20 years ago. If you were to stop a middle school student in the hallway today, you would likely find one of the following devices: an iPad, a laptop, or Chromeboo—the list goes on.
As a high school student, I’d rather carry an iPad than three or more textbooks. Let me tell you, the back pain is real! However, the technology offers benefits that go beyond simply relieving a book bag.
The practice of educating students to accommodate their unique differences, disabilities, and special needs is called special education. The need for classroom tech support is even greater for students with developmental and learning disabilities. Every child has the right to the same learning opportunities as others. Children with learning disabilities benefit greatly from special education as they receive quality education tailored to their specific needs.
Each individual student can reach their full potential and achieve a high degree of independence through special education. There is a wide range of disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, motor impairments, blindness, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, that are prevalent in American schools. According to recent estimates, more than 7 million students with disabilities attend public schools in the United States, and the majority of these students have specific learning disabilities. Technology in special education can help students in need and keep them on a similar level to their peers.
For students with special needs, there are several ways that technology can be implemented.
First, students with autism can benefit from a virtual reality environment when dealing with crowds in crowded places. Part of the school experience extends beyond the walls of the classroom and into the hallways and canteens. Crowded areas like cafeterias, school assemblies, and hallways can be a stressful environment. These students can gradually acclimate to such circumstances by experiencing them in a safe virtual environment, which will better equip them to respond calmly and appropriately in future situations. Students with motor difficulties can also manipulate objects in virtual reality that they cannot in the real world.
Second, tablets or handheld touch screens can be used to read, write, draw, and watch videos. Text-to-speech apps can provide better care for students with dyslexia and better understand written content. In addition, students with motor impairments improve their coordination through the use of iPads or tablets.
Technological advances have improved classrooms for students with disabilities or special needs to encourage equal participation for all students and an overall well-rounded learning environment. I believe that the continued adoption of technology can help all students, whether in mainstream classrooms or in classrooms specifically designed for students with special needs.
Talya Lippman is a student assistant for the Bellmore & Merrick Heralds.