In this lesson, teachers will learn about the benefits of using technology in remedial education classrooms. They will also learn some strategies for implementing technology. These strategies can be adapted for a variety of ages and grade levels. Students in regular education programs, as well as those with learning disabilities, can benefit from the strategies outlined in this lesson.
Benefits of Technology
Remedial classes provide students with the foundational skills needed to succeed in regular education classes. Since many of these students are performing below grade-level, it’s important for teachers to use differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners.One strategy that helps meet learners’ needs is using technology in remedial education.
Technology is a way of meeting learners where they are. Many technology learning resources are adaptive and self-paced, meaning they respond to input from users in order to guide the students to the most effective learning pathway.Another reason technology is so effective is because today’s students use it so much in their personal lives that it’s familiar and comfortable. Many students find technology more engaging and motivating. Paper-based learning is slowly becoming obsolete.Finally, the Common Core State Standards have made content standards universal in the United States. This means that technology learning platforms are becoming more streamlined and relevant to students’ and teachers’ needs.
Companies are developing software based on the standards that students actually need to learn.Let’s take a look at some strategies for using technology in remedial education.
Many online learning programs can help improve student remediation and give them skills that they will continue to build on in more advanced classes.For example, The Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) is a free online program designed for students in grades K through 8, but even older learners will find much of the content helpful. Subject areas include math, humanities, computing, science and engineering, and economics and finance. Students can read lectures and watch videos about different topics related to each subject area and answer questions before moving on to the next topic.
Students can earn points for watching videos and answering quiz questions, and by setting up an account, they can save their progress. The quiz questions make the process adaptive and ensure that students won’t move forward until they’ve mastered the remedial skills. The videos offer options for differentiation, including closed captioning, drawings, and written transcripts. Some of the content on the website is even available in Spanish.Another example of using technology to help build foundational skills is the use of online talking storybooks, which can help build literacy skills in young learners. Students interact with the text, which is read aloud and accompanied by graphics to reinforce the content.
Many students in remedial classes, such as English language learners and students with learning disabilities, may benefit from assistive technology.
This refers to any device or instructional tool used to assist students and provide them with equitable access to the curriculum.For example, students with limited English speaking abilities can use an augmentative communication device, which will convert students’ text to speech.Other types of assistive technology include:
- Talking calculators
- Word processors
- Braille writers
- Computer screen reading software
- Closed captioning
- Amplification devices
- Spell checkers
- Magnifying glasses
Many students enjoy playing games because they’re fun, competitive, and engaging. Using technological game apps and websites can increase student motivation and help improve remedial skills.
An added benefit is that students with computer and Internet access can use games to practice skills at home.Some websites that offer free educational games in subjects such as reading, vocabulary, and math include:
- PBS Kids (PBSKids.org)
- Brainpop (brainpop.com)
- ABCya! (abcya.
- Funbrain (funbrain.com)
- Sheppard Software (sheppardsoftware.com)
- Math Games (mathgames.
- Math Snacks (mathsnacks.com)
- National Geographic Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com)
Portfolios are a way to track student progress over the course of an academic year.
Digital portfolios make it easy for students and parents to access and reflect on essays, writing assignments, projects, and other artifacts completed by the student.If a student is falling behind in a subject area, reviewing the digital portfolio can help identify areas of weakness and work to mediate the problem before it’s too late. Portfolios also help build student confidence and motivation, since they often demonstrate growth.
Teachers are often looking for strategies to help their students learn more effectively.
One strategy is to implement the use of technology into the remedial classroom. Technology is beneficial because programs are adaptive, students are receptive to technology, and technology software is becoming increasingly aligned to national content standards.Some strategies for using technology in the remedial classroom include self-paced websites, apps, and software; games; the use of assistive technology, such as augmentative communication devices; and digital portfolios.