Effects Impact of Technology in Learning of Elementary School Special ED Students Thesis

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¶ … technology in learning of elementary school special ed. Students

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TOPIC: Thesis on Effects Impact of Technology in Learning of Elementary School Special ED Students Assignment

The use of technologies to assist in the teaching of special education elementary school children presents unique challenges and illustrates how the creative use of Web-based learning systems can accelerate and support the long-term retention of concepts with these specific students. It is the intent of this Action Research paper to illustrate how this is specifically can be accomplished through the use of a variety of teaching techniques. Despite the potential benefits of using technology-based training there is however there is a lack of adoption of Web-based training materials, websites, and strategies specifically focused on individualized learning plans including scaffolding. The reliance on traditional forms of didactic teaching however have continued to falter and not fully take into account the specific needs of these children. Through the use of primary research as defined in this Action Research paper, specific recommendations for transforming purely didactic and often statically-defined study programs into more tailored and customized ones that compensate for individual student strengths and weaknesses are presented in this Action Research paper. Through a combination of observational approaches to collecting data and the introduction of specific Web-based applications (applets) to test the student's ability to perceive, interpret and learn from interacting with them. Specifically focusing on mathematical concepts, as they are difficult often for students to conceptualize, this Action Research paper introduces the concepts of Java applets as small, self-contained applications comparable to online learning sites in portability and performance. The implications of teaching elementary school special education students through this online approach has not specifically been tested before, and is unique in that it conceptualizes and shows graphically how mathematical concepts work. It is the intention of this Action Research paper to specifically illustrate how effective teaching the more difficult to conceptualize areas of learning for special education elementary school students including mathematics and the elements of statistics.

Background and statement of the problem

Teaching mathematical and statistical concepts through purely didactic methods has proven to be ineffective in assisting students to gain mastery of even the most fundamental concepts. The "drill & kill" approach to teaching is far less effective than one that concentrates on illustrating through graphical approaches to concept navigation and presentation how complex concepts can be simplified. The problem of attempting to teach through traditional approaches is clear in their lack of effectiveness as special needs elementary school students often struggle to gain insights into how to internalize and then apply the concepts shown. It is the intent of this Action Research paper to discuss how this can specifically be alleviated through the use of Java applets to aid elementary school special education students to learn and retain more fundamental skill sets regarding mathematics and statistics.

Purpose and Research Questions

Many instructors consider statistics one of the more difficult sciences to teach and have retained by elementary school special needs students, as it requires mathematical ability and an interest in numerical analysis, combined with the ability to handle quantitative and qualitative data, and an interest in defining complex analytical relationships graphically. Given the exponential growth in data and its corresponding specialization in those career areas that require a correspondingly high level of expertise in statistical concepts and techniques. The application of these techniques yields insights that are not intuitively obvious to students, professors, and professionals who examine and evaluate data sets. The wealth of insights available for data sets, from the research efforts of students, professors and researchers requires a commitment to continual learning and fine-tuning of statistical techniques. This is critical if any member of these three constituencies is to glean grater insights and therefore more focused strategies based on the use of statistical techniques.

Yet ironically the greater the demand for more state-of-the-art techniques available from statistical analysis, the lesser the corresponding growth in teaching techniques to communicate them. Paradoxically as the value of statistical analysis and therefore education continues to increase significantly yet the methods and approaches for teaching statistics follow the guidelines established by our grandfathers during the fifties and sixties. An entire generation of analytical tools and techniques in terms of statistical analysis has since been created, and teaching methods and approaches need to stay current with these latest advances in statistical techniques and methods of analysis.

In conjunction with the growth in statistical analysis techniques, there have been corresponding advances in global networks and communications, made possible through the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW), which is called the Web for short. Increasingly students are relying on the Internet to accomplish their learning objectives, and this is especially true in the areas of mathematics and statistical analysis. As the Internet has progressed and programming tools have become more sophisticated and capable of delivering greater insights than has been the case in the past.

Both the rapid developments in Internet technologies that have driven the development of the World Wide Web (WWW), and the development of extensive applications which capitalize on the unique data integration and presentation capabilities of the World Wide Web (WWW) have set the foundation for completely re-defining teaching and instruction of basic statistics education. The combined effects of the World Wide Web (WWW) and Java technology are making it possible to deliver more intuitive and graphically-based approaches to statistics education. As the speed of the World Wide Web (WWW), has dramatically increased with the growth of broadband, combined with the development of thin-client Java applets, advances are being made by educators in using interactive and highly illustrative examples where data sets from actual case studies are shown. Java applets are capable of providing each student with a highly interactive and focused learning session, making the specific statistical concepts more understandable than has been the case in the past.

Context of the Action Research Study

The objective of this study is to quantify and measure the effects of Java-based applet instruction methods on elementary school special needs students' levels of achievement, attitudes towards learning statistics, and overall satisfaction with an introductory statistics analysis when compared to traditional forms of math and statistics instruction.

The methodology for the study is based on observation of elementary school special needs students in a classroom, sampling 37 students who were taught using Java-based instruction as the control group and 38 students who received traditional instructions. These two groups were then compared by observing their performance scores of online tests exclusively, and tests completed using both in-class testing and online tests as well. The intent is to isolate academic achievement based on Web-based instruction exclusively to measure the performance of students when they are taught using Java-based applets over the Internet.

This study also specifically concentrates on the use of scaffolding techniques (Najjar, 2008) in conjunction with traditional classroom instruction and the use of Web-based applications to teach students core mathematical and statistical concepts. Specifically concentrating on the needs of elementary school special needs students through the use of websites, applets and online tools that are specific to their individual needs for mathematical and statistical concepts, this Action Research paper seeks to isolate the effectiveness of Java-based applets in simplifying the more complex concepts of mathematical and statistical studies.


The Action Research study specifically illustrates that Java-based instruction of mathematics and statistics has proven to be effective in significantly increasing the level of performance for elementary school special needs students. This Action Research paper also specifically found that students found the newness and novelty of learning through the use of Java applets preferable to the use of traditional approaches to learning including the over-reliance on Microsoft PowerPoint presentations on the part of instructors or the rough-hand drawing of concepts on a white board. The combining of Web-based applications and in-class instruction was superior to traditional teaching methods.


Review of the Literature


There has been widespread interest in using technologies to solve critical problems in elementary school special needs education. Exploration of the Internet as a teaching and learning tool is expanding. As the Internet becomes more integrated into students' lives, more teachers begin to combine face-to-face and online instruction, in hope of exploring a new way that is the most effective and positively related to student learning. If the materials can be presented in a variety of formats, then the students can have a greater chance of success. This the basis of the research completed in this Action Research paper.

An easy-to-implement approach is to make course-related materials available on the web. According to Levy (2005), a "web-enhanced course" uses the web to distribute course materials and provide students with online resources. Professors who have integrated their teaching into the Internet have been able to hold the attention of their students and direct them to any form of interactive learning tools necessary for their total understanding of a concept discussed in class. Benefiting from a wider range of online… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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