Using Assistive Technologies for Instructing Students with Disabilities: A Survey of New Resources - Mellen Studies in Education S. v. 104 (Hardback)Barry W. Birnbaum (author)
Hardback 150 Pages / Published: 01/05/2005
- Not available
This book is a practical guide for teachers to increase their efficacy in the use of technology and teaching students with disabilities. A wealth of information regarding assistive technology and distance education provides tools for teachers to optimize their students' learning. In this work, Dr. Barry Birnbaum continues his series on educational technology. His first book, "Connecting Special Education and Technology for the 21st Century" (1999) was focused on children with special needs. "Foundations and Practices in the Use of Distance Education" (2001) was dedicated to distance education. This third volume, which also focuses on technology, combines some of the themes from the first two books and broadens the discussion of technology in education. The first chapter, "Using and Selecting Technology for the Classroom", stresses the importance of teachers knowing how to use and select technology. Because school districts have limited budgets, they are unable to buy all new technology every year. An added complication is that most of the available educational software is not based on the learning standards that the student must meet. So, teachers must first consider the curriculum and then purchase long lasting software and hardware. Chapter 2, concerning "Human Factors and Technology", discusses other important, human factors in choosing technology. Most notably, we humans are very impatient and want the method of operation of software to be self-evident. Reading a technical manual is something most people are loathe to do. Therefore, the design has to be user-friendly, that is, "physically, cognitively, and linguistically easy to master". Chapter 3, "The Information Age", and chapter 4 "Electronic Research and Tests" are dedicated to different learning strategies that are available including e-mail, various uses of the Internet including chat rooms, the concept of the global classroom, and on-line research. As Dr. Birnbaum says, "Research has become more accessible than in the past. It has moved from the library stacks to the personal computer." Chapter 5 and 6 concern "Electronic Portfolios" and "Digital Teaching Portfolios". Widely used in higher education, electronic portfolios can be based on standards or other requirements. These portfolios contain artifacts which may include graphics, sound and video. They generally include a reflective or self-assessment piece, which describes the artifacts and puts them into content. Digital portfolios contain multi-media artifacts. They may contain audio recordings, hypermedia, databases, and other software. According to Dr. Birnbaum, "Construction of a digital portfolio acts as a vehicle for the teacher to develop and demonstrate new skills in technology". Chapter 7, "Creating a Classroom Environment for Technology" talks about how to get the technology out of the box and into the hands of the students. Considerations of how to use the computer are discussed. Chapters 8 and 9 concern using technology with children with disabilities as well as using technology for assessment. Working with special needs children and technology is Dr. Birnbaum's primary area of expertise. As his professorship is in the Department of Special Education, he is extremely knowledgeable in this area. These chapters offer very practical information on special needs children, when technology is helpful, and when it is not beneficial. Finally, in Chapter 10, Dr. Birnbaum addresses the controversial subject of teaching on-line. He discusses different ways to teach on-line, the role of the instructor and the shift in on-line teaching to "reading and writing" from "speaking and listening" which we find in traditional learning. In summary, in this work, Dr. Birnbaum presents an overview of educational technology as it exists today. Each of his books, written only two years apart, document the growth and use of technology in education. His books trace the state of the art and demonstrate that technology is here to stay.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
Number of pages: 150
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