Accomodating the disabled in technology education
Instead of focusing on our own frustrations with a particular student, we can focus on learning from his or her frustrations.By accommodating SLD students differing learning needs, we learn how to teach more effectively.The pacing and literacy demands have the "potential to exclude persons with disabilities who may [have] benefitted from Web-based or distance learning" (Cook).From an idealistic standpoint, as educators, we should be ethically motivated to help all our students tap into their potential, and not simply those who can already succeed within the standard academic paradigm.Thus, our challenge as educators is to help SLD student discover different methods of learning, without requiring excessive amounts of time or dramatically restructuring our courses.Additionally, more SLD students now begin postsecondary education because distance learning and on-line courses provide easier access for them (Cook).The 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act expanded this law, requiring that all learning institutions, not just federally funded schools, accommodate the needs of the learning disabled (Scott and Gregg 159-160).This attitude of inclusion also addresses technology in education.
Occasionally a more significant accommodation must be made for the SLD student.Furthermore, only 44% of the SLD students have earned their degrees ten years after college enrollment compared to 68% of students with no learning disabilities.Similarly, high drop out rates exist in distance learning and on-line courses.The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (Tech Act, updated 1994) promotes "specially designed devices and accommodations meant to empower persons with disabilities" (qtd. Reflecting this same empowerment of SLD students, the United States Department of Justice stated that ADA requires that "entities that use the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods, or services must be prepared to offer those communications through accessible means" (qtd in Buargstahler).
Both promote educational technology as a resource to accommodate SLD students.These accommodations neednt be difficult to integrate into current programs.