At Oakwood, technology tools enhance students’ learning. Computers and SmartBoards in every classroom increase student access to great learning experiences. A cart of laptops and the Computer Lab enable hands-on learning of technology skills. Kindles and iPads have added a variety of learning methods for our students. In the 2013-14 school year, we implemented a one-to-one solution for our older students. Each student in the upper teams has a laptop assigned for academic use. As we prepare these students for high school, learning appropriate and efficient use of technology resources is important for their success.
We teach keyboarding when students can differentiate their fingers, usually around Third grade. The goal of keyboarding is for each student to increase their proficiency on the computer in order to make it as efficient a tool as possible for future education.
We have seen the difference that technology makes for our students. The SmartBoards and appropriate Internet sites provide multisensory experiences in every subject area. Students’ written expression improves with the use of word processing and organizational software as well as access to spell check and other tools. We use a variety of programs to provide guided practice as well as to enhance creativity and higher-level thinking.
A well-equipped computer lab, as well as several computers in all classrooms, supports the academic process. Laptops permit even greater access throughout the building. Computer skills such as keyboarding and word processing are taught to allow students to communicate more effectively. The integrated computer instruction which occurs on a regular basis enhances the curriculum and aids in developing necessary technology skills.
Learning to use the computer and Internet resources for research is taught at all levels in age-appropriate ways. Younger students learn how to do basic research on sites chosen by the teachers. Older students research topics for formal written presentations, such as the Five-Paragraph Essay, or orally via PowerPoint or other presentation formats.
Appropriate use of technology is a key component at all levels. Security and screening software, as well as teacher training and specific lessons for students, help all of us use these tools safely and productively.
We understand the role technology plays in the lives of students with learning disabilities. Technology is crucial to their success--as a learning tool, not just as an accommodation. We use technology to support learning at all levels of the curriculum.