As I am studying a Bachelor of Education specialising in special education one of the major reasons that I will be using ICT in the classroom is that ICT is extremely engaging for students with special needs. ICT offers a range of freedom for students to explore and due to the range of activities, games, videos, pictures and pretty much anything and everything you can think of on there, it captures students interests no matter what age or disability.
The main reason that I believe ICT is so engaging for special needs students is because of the immediate cause and effect that ICT offers. An example of this is when students are playing a game and they have to find the dog and click/touch/switch/eye gaze when they find the dog (cause). As soon as the student has found the dog and selected the dog a cause and effect program will give them a reward for finding the dog such as the dog will do a dance and start barking or the students favourite music will begin to play (effect). This encourages students to learn and is exciting for them as they are being rewarded immediately for doing something (independently) that has a certain overall purpose.
A great cause and effect website to use with special needs students of any ages is Help Kidz Learn, which I am familiar with myself but also saw mentioned on kbkermode‘s blog titled help kidz learn. I am familiar with this site as it is a popular site to use at the school I am currently a teachers assistant at and like the students mentioned in kbkermode’s blog the site offers many ways to access it for students including touch screen and adaptive switches which are the two main methods of access used at the school I work at. As well as offering different access methods it also has a large variety of cause and effect games which are fun for students of all ages and engaging.
Another amazing blog that I wanted to share is atclassroom’s blog, which contains a blog titled Glenda’s assistive technology information and more. This blog contains hundreds of sites and programs designed to help students with special needs. The blog is organised into categories and subjects to make finding what you are looking for much easier and each resource contains a description so that you can further see if its one you are needing or not. This is a blog I believe all special education teachers should have bookmarked and refer to at every possible ICT incorporation in the classroom. ENJOY 🙂