Friday, July 29, 2011

Technology in school

Cindy Matthews is a vice-principal of special education programs in Southwestern Ontario and writes as a freelancer for a variety of educational magazines. She's written for BLOOM, and now she's looking for some input from our families for an article she's writing for the Special Needs Opportunity Window (SNOW).

I have been asked by SNOW to do an article on the use of technology in schools by mid August. I would like to get some background from parents and students who are interested in e-mailing me at I'd love to hear your answers to the following!

For students:

What grade are you in? What school board do you attend school in?

Describe some computer and other technology you used while a student.

What kind of technology in school was of benefit to you and how?

What kinds of technology did the teachers use and how was it beneficial (or not beneficial)? Did you, as a student with special needs, ever feel learning was not accessible? What might you have changed if you could?

For parents:

What technology (computer and other) does your child need?

Is the technology accessible at the school? What have been barriers to learning, if any?

What are some emerging technologies you are aware of that your child might benefit from?



I believe that Cindy and you are trying to help. However, a better question would be: "What technologies and learning strategies can best educate children with disabilities?"

Truth be told, "I once wrote a paper discussing this issue, as my struggles have taught me one thing,'learning difficulties and physical disability go hand and hand."

Until we acknowledge this, all the technology in the world won't even the playing field for these kids.

For those who doubt my words, ask yourself, "In spite of sufficient funding, how many students with disabilities graduate from college or university per year?"

Matt Kamaratakis

As a homeschooling mother of two teenage sons with physical disabilities I would start by saying that access to technology is a necessity.

We access the Assistive Devices Program to support the need for technology for schooling. While the program does allow us to purchase much needed equipment for our sons it fails to acknowledge changes in need without months of advocacy including numerous emails and phone calls. Equipment is only to be updated every 5 years. This has often left our sons using equipment that no longer meets their needs or unable to access their technology at all.