The impact of iPads on literacy for students with cognitive disabilities
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Over the last few years there have been rapid advances in technology, especially its use within the classroom. Yet not many studies have examined the effectiveness of these technological tools. This, in addition to the added benefit of technology's engaging features, led me to explore a variety of Apps to improve literacy skills. This action research project tested the impact of technology (iPad Apps), progress monitoring, and self-reflection on literacy skill development for students with cognitive disabilities. The participants were 7 high school students with a cognitive disability, from a mixed gender group ranging from age 14-21 years old. The research project consisted of three studies. The first study (Study A) examined the use of iPads to assist in the learning of the Dolch sight words through small group Direct Instruction. The students took a pre- and post-test on the Dolch sight words and weekly tests. The second study (Study B) examined the use of iPads in addition to small group Direct Instruction of specific literacy skills using the program Reading A to Z. Two units of instruction, one focused on main ideas and details and the other on making inferences, were taught using small group Direct Instruction and no technology use. To compare data, two other units were taught focusing on the same two skills with the use of iPads. Results from the Reading A to Z book unit assessments were compared to determine if the use of an iPad had any influence on skill growth. In the third study (Study C), students examined graphical representations of their literacy skill scores from Study B, reflected on their progress, and set new goals. I compared their Reading A to Z assessments and literacy skills graph to their self-reflection goals. Results showed that when iPads were included students knew 2.75 more words after completing the instruction, students increased their literacy skills by 15% and students demonstrated engagement through progress-monitoring and self-reflection.
Computers and literacy
Students with disabilities--Education (Secondary)