Special Needs Teacher Resources

Technology and Special Education Classrooms

5 Ways to Use Technology in the Special Education Classroom

In developing new technology, software and hardware companies have not overlooked the spectrum of special needs and special education students. Technology in special education classrooms is an industry within an industry and it is constantly developing and improving products for special needs.

  1. Operating Systems: Just about every operating system available has something for people with special needs. Both Microsoft and Apple, the creators of the two most prevalent operating systems, Windows 7 and OS X, offer a number of enhancements that enable users of different impairments to use the system. Microsoft’s ‘Ease of Access’ center in the Windows operating system, as well as Apple’s OS X, offer options that allow for using the computer without a monitor for the blind, adding visual prompts and eliminating sounds for the deaf, and alternate input devices for those with mobility deficiencies. These options are available in the base design of each system and do not cost users anything extra.
  2. Braille Displays There is no limit to what technology in special education classrooms can accomplish. Braille displays offer the ability read text that is sent to the machine by activating pins on a multi-cell display. They are available cheaply for reading text line by line while more expensive versions can read text, allow for text input and SMS texting, and help with navigation around the computer. They work with a cable and also come in a Bluetooth wireless version. Some Braille displays are even able to operate with smart phones and PDA’s.
  3. Word Prediction Software Word Prediction Software simply predicts the words that are being typed to reduce the number of keystrokes used to input the word. Once several letters of the word are typed, a list of words pops up and the student selects the correct word. Some versions of the software base the list of words on the letters keyed and other versions will base the choice on context and grammar.
  4. Tablets and iPadsTablets and iPads are the hottest must haves in the technology market. These devices can be used like a computer, an imaging device, a camera, a projector, a mouse, a keyboard, and a remote device for a white boards. The use of tablets and iPads as technology in special education classrooms is limitless and app developers, parents, specialists and doctors are always searching for more unique ways to employ these devices.
  5. AppsApple’s App Store and Google’s Android App Market both offer a number of apps designed to assist in the use of technology in special education classrooms. Though sometimes they may be a little difficult to locate, Eric Sailers, a Speech Language Pathologist who has developed several apps for special needs children, has compiled a list of apps available in Apple’s App Store and provides a short description of each. This list will assist teachers in finding useful apps quickly so they may work with their children more effectively. Alternately, the website BridgingApps has developed a community of people directly concerned with the education of those with special needs and helps people to develop and share ideas about programs, apps and the use of technology in special education classrooms.

The use of technology in special education classrooms is still in its infancy. As developers see new markets for their technology and educators and specialists create new ideas that develop into hardware and software, the choices will grow. But, there are currently many options to choose from and a simple search can produce a number of ideas that can be employed in the classroom right away, with little investment.

Visit this website to read the stories of actual teachers
and how they implement technology in their classrooms to
meet the different needs of their students.


Additional reading resources for special education teachers.

The Special Educator’s Survival Guide by Roger Pierangelo
  1. Whether a battle-scarred education veteran or a greenhorn eager to prove mettle and get kids learning, Roger Pierangelo’s advice resonates. Every facet of working with special needs children and teens ends up covered here, including legalities, dealing with parents, diagnostics, and plenty more. Make sure to stay current and check for the latest editions, as legislation and other procedures may change between printings.

  2. Wrightslaw: Special Education Law by Pamela Darr Wright and Peter W.D. Wright

    Picking up the latest edition is integral to the savvy special education teacher, as it means the most updated information about laws and policies driving the industry. It should be pretty obvious why educators need to pick up this hefty volume — going without might compromise the best possible service and advocacy for special needs students.

  3. Better IEPs by Barbara D. Bateman and Mary Anne Linden

    Because so many legalities dictate the hows and whys behind special education, teachers must completely comprehend them when creating individualized education programs. Lest they think such restrictions might compromise the quality of their lessons, Barbara D. Bateman and Mary Anne Linden make sure to maximize educational viability. It should prove a great help when serving students and addressing student concerns.