The Best Technology Tools for the Special Education Classroom

Using technology in the special education classroom has many benefits, and it will continue to play a major role in the future of the field. Modern technology adapts to student needs to personalize the learning experience, transforming how students interact with teachers and classmates and aiding students with learning or physical disabilities.

The online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education program from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) prepares graduates to work as special education professionals and implement individualized programs for special needs students using technology. By learning proven, inclusive materials and strategies to use in a special education classroom, graduates of this program can meet the needs of their diverse learners in various ways.

How Technology Helps Students With Special Needs

While no single assistive technological tool is suitable for every student, technology in the classroom can enable the best outcome when implementing custom-made solutions. Educators should encourage technology use in the special education classroom for the following proven benefits:

  • Increased independence. Technology can help students experience improved independence, freeing them from relying on constant teacher support. Students with more control over their learning have increased confidence to regulate the learning pace that’s right for them. Classroom technology that increases and improves communication can level the playing field for students.
  • Reduced anxiety. Students with social anxiety may have difficulty interacting with classmates, asking questions, speaking or performing in front of others or reading aloud. Specific edtech tools or apps can help students develop social skills and complete tasks independently so they can stay focused while still receiving supportive feedback from their teacher.
  • Assists with mobility impairments. Students with motor or mobility impairments may experience difficulty with interactive participation or hands-on learning activities. Students who use braces, canes, wheelchairs or walkers can use virtual reality or interactive technology tools to participate in classroom activities. Technology incorporating touchscreens, gesture-based communication systems and voice-activated programs can provide a well-balanced learning experience.

The Best Technology Tools to Use for Special Needs Students

Because students’ needs vary, learners excel when instruction adapts to their individual abilities. Edtech software can help students learn at the pace that works best for them. Educators can customize assistive technology for their students to get the most out of the school day. Below are some valuable learning tools for the special education classroom.

  • Screen readers. A screen reader converts text to braille or audio for students with learning disorders or visual impairments. Screen reader software provides image descriptions and explains what’s happening on a screen. The student can format text, search websites, look up words and more.
  • Virtual reality (VR). VR technology allows students to participate and interact in a classroom setting during online learning. They can also experience virtual field trips for valuable educational events.
  • Voice recognition. For motor or visual impairments, voice recognition software can perform a student’s request at the sound of their voice. Students can speak to their teachers, create assignments and direct apps.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI). AI technology can help teachers by personalizing lessons and anticipating their needs. Students can use AI to transcribe class notes and create their own written documents by using braille or voice commands.

Learn to Apply Technology in Special Education at Florida Gulf Coast University

The increased digitization of the world is affecting every aspect of our lives, including education. While special education students often have more advanced and nuanced learning needs than general education students, technology can be significantly helpful for their success.

Graduates from FGCU’s online M.Ed. in Special Education program gain instructional goals to meet the needs of special education students. In particular, the Instructional Approaches for Exceptional Populations course focuses on effective teaching strategies for students with disabilities, including the digital tools that support these efforts. Graduates of FGCU’s program develop knowledge to teach interrelated disciplines as independent teachers in a specialized setting using a number of edtech tools.

Learn more about FGCU’s online M.Ed. in Special Education program.

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