The Current State of Special Education and Tech #makereducation

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Gail Robinson published a story in The Atlantic about the current role of technology, specifically tablets, in special education. Robinson notes that assistive technology has a long standing relationship with special education, even more so than with most mainstream curriculums.

“We have so many different programs that will help a child,” says Valeska Gioia, an assistive technology specialist at the South Carolina Department of Education who focuses on struggling students and students with moderate to profound disabilities of many kinds, including autism. “We give them the tools and they rise to the challenge much of the time.”

Some experts caution that, as with so much in the world of educational technology, definitive research about results is scant. “There is little research on how students with disabilities are doing with online and blended learning,” says Tracy Gray, managing researcher for education at the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit that conducts behavioral and social science research.

But others believe that children with certain kinds of disabilities, such as those on the autism spectrum, respond especially well to technology programs because the programs behave in consistent, predictable ways. And unlike earlier technologies for students with special needs, the tablets and laptops are portable and indistinguishable from devices used by other students.

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