This article reports results from a study of the use of technology to support students with learning disabilities in the use of effective study strategies. Thirty secondary students were given laptop computers and taught a variety of computer-based study strategies designed to facilitate information recording, organization, and manipulation. Results suggest that students adopted this innovation at three levels: (a) Power Users (skilled, independent users, integrating the computer into their schoolwork); (b) Prompted Users (skilled computer users, but requiring prompting); and (c) Reluctant Users (having limited knowledge and working only under supervision). Intelligence and reading test scores were associated with adoption levels in a statistically significant way.
This paper describes the use of "computer-supported studying" as an approach to helping students with disabilities develop and apply skills needed for successful transition from secondary to postsecondary education. The paper provides vignettes of three students with learning disabilities who participated in one of three federally funded projects designed to research the impact of computer-supported studying on student retention and academic achievement. Each vignette describes the way in which technology was used to minimize the negative impact of the student's disabilities and build upon the student's learning strengths. Results revealed that students who successfully adopted a computer-supported approach to studying also successfully adapted to the instructional demands of postsecondary education. Results are interpreted in terms of the literature on cognitive strategy instruction as well as the literature on social constructivism.
This study investigated the effects of text notes and voice notes on the comprehension of science texts by fifth grade students. The study was conducted to determine whether digital note taking was an effective reading strategy, and whether one form of digital note taking was more effective than the other. Results revealed that general education students made statistically significant gains for both science texts: Cells, and Heredity. For Cells, the voice notes group outperformed their text note peers at a level that was statistically significant. Special education students also made greater test gains using voice notes rather than text notes, and this difference was statistically significant for short-answer tests on Heredity. Additional analyses revealed diverse note taking strategies, which appeared consistent across media.
Expanded captions are designed to enhance the educational value by linking unfamiliar words to one of three types of information: vocabulary definitions, labeled illustrations, or concept maps. This study investigated the effects of expanded captions versus standard captions on the comprehension of educational video materials on DVD by secondary students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Participants were assigned randomly to two groups, with each group experiencing both conditions in counterbalanced order. Scores from pretests and posttests of vocabulary and informational content revealed no statistically significant differences between the two conditions. The findings are discussed in light of student preferences for expanded captions and screen-capture data that revealed low access levels for the expanded material.
Critical to the success of any instructional intervention is the inclusion of strategies for promoting the application of learned skills in settings where they are required. For students receiving instruction in special education resource rooms, it is important that teachers recognize the need to plan for the transfer of targeted skills to other educational environments. Three data-based strategies for promoting the transfer of skills from special education resource rooms to regular classrooms are presented within the conceptual framework of transenvironmental programming. An argument is made for increased student involvement in the decision-making surrounding the adoption of each strategy and student-centered recommendations for implementation are provided.
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