Inside the Special Education Classroom: How Tech Can Help Special Needs Students

At a glance, technology in special education classroom looks just like it does in a regular education classroom: computers, laptops, SmartBoards, and even an iPad or two. When you take a closer look, you will realize how much more this assistive technology provides in special education.

Assistive technology can look like many things in an elementary special education classroom, both low-tech and high-tech. No two students are the same, and they will have different experiences while trying to use technology.

What does edtech look like in the special ed classroom?

Some tools make it possible for students with special needs to use the computer just like everyone else. Students with low fine motor skills may have a large font keyboard plugged into the USB of a regular desktop computer. Now the student is able to type. The same keyboard can be color-coded to help a student with a vision impairment. If a student has very low fine motor skills to the point that they cannot push the keys on the keyboard, they may use a switch, a button available in different sizes that can be pushed to replace the click of a mouse or the enter key.

A touch screen can also be seen in the special education classroom and is engaging for everyone, whether they really “need” it or not. A SmartBoard, an interactive whiteboard with a touch screen instead of a mouse, is just a giant interactive computer screen, making a lesson accessible for those students that need a little assistance. If they are unable to come up to the board there is also an app that will mirror what is on the screen to the iPad. This way, the student still has interactive access at their fingertips but they never had to get out of their seat.

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