Children using assistive learning technology

What is the researcher's purpose? Why is this topic of interest?
The purpose is to urge those in the special education field to look to the future of technology to ensure all students especially those with special needs reach their full learning potential. This is a topic of interest as technology and the use of media is growing so rapidly that if there isn’t a more aggressive approach to research and use in the special education field, “the field risks… becoming obsolete and out of step with mainstream school reform efforts.”

What is the most relevant prior work that other researchers have done on this topic?

There are several organizations and individual researchers that have explored this topic including reports on the use and benefit of interactive technologies with students with disabilities, the effectiveness of speech technology for students with disabilities, the use of smart toys in and outside of the home with children with special needs, and also the use of interactive games used by children with special needs.

What is the research question explored in this article?

How can we move the special education field to a tipping point that involves effective implementation of assistive and learning technologies to improve learning for children with special needs?

What are the characteristics of the sample?

There wasn’t a sample used in this article. It was mainly reporting and sharing what other researchers have reported and arguing the urgency of continued cooperative research and efforts in order to become more affective in the use of assistive technologies and keeping up with mainstream education.

What variables are measured?

It seems that in most of the research the variables are technology and students. Unfortunately, most of the research mostly on students without disabilities or primarily on those students. The call is for more research to concentrate on the use of learning technologies with students with disabilities.

Pick two variables are describe how they are operationalized.

Researchers have interviewed others in the field of special education, conducted studies using students with and without disabilities, and also performed peer reviews in order to measure the effectiveness of assistive and learning technologies.

How was the data analyzed?

It appears the qualitative research has been analyzed by comparing results to students that did not use the technology, past growth, and also the growth of students without disabilities.

What are the main findings of the study?

Though there has been some research, there must be a coordination of additional research efforts in order to provide evidence on what works, for whom, and how in order to effectively utilize technologies and improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

What new questions does the researcher have to consider emerge as a result of this research?

What will it take to grow with the mainstream or even become a trendsetter in the field?
What is the best way to research?

How does this article affect your own thinking about the topic?

It truly has caused me to consider researching the topic more aggressively. I was not aware that there was so little research regarding children with special needs. I also found it interesting how although many of the questions that are posed still have gone unanswered. In spite of others interest and the vast number of people in the field, it unfortunately still seems to be a bit “behind the eight ball” in the use of learning technologies to help those that truly need I reach their full learning potential.

What is the APA citation for this work?

Gray, T., & Silver-Pacuilla, H. (2007). The Future is Now: Application and Innovation of Technology in Special Education. Journal of Special Education Technology , 1-2.