Teachers who teach in early childhood special education
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- Teach educators how important sight word identification in children aged 0-6 years is;
- Teach educators how to use a piece of technology as an application (“app”) for iPad entitled “Sight Words” (Camila, 2015; Edoki Academy, n.d.);
- Improve an understanding of teachers of their work with children aged 0-6 years who have a learning disability;
- Create helpful guides for teachers first and then for students on how to use technologies, improve their sight words identification skills, and deal with their learning disabilities in the classroom (Northrop & Killeen, 2013).
After this workshop, teachers will be able to:
- use reading as the main learning activity that has to be properly developed among children aged 0-6 years (Cullen, Keesey, Alber-Morgan, & Wheaton, 2013);
- recognize learning disabilities of children observed in the classroom;
- help children who have learning disabilities to improve their reading skills with the help of technologies (Fälth, Gustafson, Tjus, Heimann, & Svensson, 2013);
- identify appropriate environments that meet students’ needs and are based on the effects of learning disabilities on a teaching process;
- improve sight words identification with the help of technologies available in classrooms (Coleman, Cherry, Moore, Park, & Cihak, 2015).
- offer effective technologies to students with a learning disability.
- recognize behaviors of children who are challenged by a learning disability and understand what kind of work can be done to support a student.
- clarify what technology products can be offered to students with disabilities and teachers at this moment and what prospects can be defined within the next five years.
This workshop aims at promoting the importance of using technologies with the help of which it is possible to improve sight word identification in children who have a learning disability and are aged 0-6 years. Teachers should have a chance to improve their knowledge about how to integrate technologies into the classroom and follow the CALL foundations. Nowadays, reading is an important skill that has to be developed in early stages. Some children are skilled enough to gain a strong understanding of what they can do to recognize sight words and use them in their everyday life. Some children may need additional help and thorough explanations to clarify what they have to do and why sight words are necessary for learning. If recognition of sight words cannot be automatically achieved, new methods and alternatives have to be discovered. This workshop is focused on teachers and the improvement of their abilities to cooperate with children using different iPad technologies for learning sight words and recognizing their peculiarities in the classroom.
Modules and Timing
|One hour||New technologies in education||Teachers share their opinion about technological tools that may be currently applicable to the classroom and used by students with ease|
|30 minutes||Assessment of student skills||Teachers discuss students’ frequent disabilities and main learning challenges through making lists and categorizing students accordingly|
|One hour||A changing concept of reading||Teachers discuss how to teach children with disabilities and what achievements can be observed: the creation of a table where disabilities and teaching strategies are matched is required|
|One hour||Sight Words Identification||Teachers are provided with iPads for classroom activities where special games and training programs are introduced through the chosen app so that teachers take the steps their students will with time and understand what challenges or additional explanations may be required|
|One hour||Learning with technology||Students should feel that they can improve their skills with a new technology device, and teachers have to know how to encourage them, and several motivational cards are created|
|30 minutes||Assessment and final remarks||Teachers share their opinions about what they know about new technologies and what they can do with students in the classroom relying on offered innovations: expectations are set for further discussions|
Short quizzes are offered to teachers to demonstrate what they know before and after a workshop and compare the results to define their readiness to work with students under new conditions.
Handouts, Materials, Supplies:
- iPads with “Sight Words” application are given to teachers so that they can get an idea on how to work with them and how to introduce these technologies to students.
- Quiz cards, paper, and pencils for teachers to make notes and answer questions.
Taking into consideration the fact that students and teachers have to work hard to meet new requirements and use technological progress to achieve better results, much work and clarifications are required. This project aims at supporting social interactions between teachers through discussing the conditions under which technology can help to improve reading skills of children who have a learning disability in the classroom. At this moment, the project that includes a research proposal and workshop is complete. It is a professionally written project with clear goals and approaches being discussed. All sections of the project are closely connected to each other with the main intention to provide teachers with a guide on how they may improve their work with students with the help of special technological devices.
The peculiar feature of this project is that it does not only introduce a new topic and a new approach to learning children with disabilities. It also helps to clarify what teachers can do to change and improve a learning process for students, if they are ready for innovations, and what expectations can be set in terms of this project. On the one hand, this project is creative as it does not have analogs in the chosen facility. Students with disabilities are usually provided with simple and easy-to-comprehend environments. At this point, teachers have to integrate the standards of CALL (computer-assisted language learning) foundation to prove that disabled children are not deprived of technology opportunities and can develop their skills accordingly.
This workshop is a solid contribution to teachers’ abilities that should be developed in the classroom where students with learning disabilities have to work and obtain new knowledge. The evaluation of CALL foundations is a change to integrate the language learning principles with the technologies. Therefore, it is important to identify the main aspects of CALL so that teachers who are interested in technology can be involved in a learning process performing different roles. For example, a teacher can be a researcher who investigates human-computer interactions from different perspectives. A teacher can be a consumer who should know how to use the technology under specific conditions. Finally, teachers are the managers who try to help students find and use the required materials in a proper way. The CALL standards include the necessity to lead teachers how to use digital technologies and become supporters for their students, motivate teachers to integrate training programs, and develop guides and lesson plans regarding the chosen innovation.
In general, the project under discussion is well-designed and properly introduced in terms of module description, participants, learning objectives, and overall goals. Teachers are free to share their opinions and leave their feedback to understand what improvements can be added and what results are expected. Using technology to improve reading skills of children with disabilities is a strong idea that has to be developed from multiple perspectives. CALL foundations help to understand how teachers can motivate students, what initial steps are required, and when explanations should be offered.
Camila, A. (2015). The sight word adventure app gets kids learning about sight words the fun way [Blog post]. Web.
Coleman, M. B., Cherry, R. A., Moore, T. C., Park, Y., & Cihak, D. F. (2015). Teaching sight words to elementary students with intellectual disability and autism: A comparison of teacher-directed versus computer-assisted simultaneous prompting. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 53(3), 196-210.
Cullen, J., Keesey, S., Alber-Morgan, S. R., & Wheaton, J. (2013). The effects of computer-assisted instruction using Kurzweil 3000 on sight word acquisition for students with mild disabilities. Education and Treatment of Children, 36(2), 87-103.
Edoki Academy. (n.d.). Sight words – An early reading & spelling adventure. Web.
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Fälth, L., Gustafson, S., Tjus, T., Heimann, M., & Svensson, I. (2013). Computer‐assisted interventions targeting reading skills of children with reading disabilities – A longitudinal study. Dyslexia, 19(1), 37-53.
Northrop, L., & Killeen, E. (2013). A framework for using iPads to build early literacy skills. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 531-537.