Identifying emerging trends for implementing learning technology in special education: A state-of-the-art review of selected articles published in 2008-2012
Research in developmental disabilities | 22 Aug 2013
GZ Liu, NW Wu and YW Chen
As electronic learning (e-learning) becomes increasingly popular in education worldwide, learning technology (LT) has been applied in various learning environments and activities to promote meaningful, efficient, and effective learning. LT has also been adopted by researchers and teacher-practitioners in the field of special education, but as yet little review-based research has been published. This review research thus carefully examined the trends of LT implementations in special education, providing a comprehensive analysis of 26 studies published in indexed journals in the past five years (2008-2012). Two research questions were addressed: (a) What are the major research aims, methodologies, and outcomes in these studies of implementing LT in the field of special education? and (b) What types of LT are mainly used with special education students, and for what kinds of students? Major findings include that examining the learning effectiveness of LT using was the most common research purpose (75%); researchers primarily relied on experimental studies (46%, 12 studies), followed by interviews and questionnaires (19%, 5 studies). Moreover, the most common use of LT was computer-assisted technology (such as web-based mentoring, educational computer games, laptop computers) in special education; studies investigating the use of LT with mentally disabled students were more than those with physically disabled ones. It is expected that the findings of this work and their implications will serve as valuable references with regard to the use of LT with special education students.
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