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How Global Collaboration Through Technology Benefits Special Education Students

How Global Collaboration Through Technology Benefits Special Education Students

A recent article from THEJournal.com takes a look at how special education teachers are using technology to help their special education students receive a more inclusive education through global collaboration.

Technology, the article says, helps students with learning disabilities and special needs collaborate beyond their classroom to be fully engaged in the learning process.

It highlights SMARTee Project, a project that units special needs students from Finland, Sweden, Germany, South African and the United States through technology. Throughout the project, students teach each other about their local cultural traditions.

While special needs students typically have a hard time communicating with general education students, Brianna Owens, a special education teacher who participated in the project, told THEJournal that they have an easier time communicating with non-English speaking students. Picture communication, for example, is a big way the project’s students collaborate.

"Owens' quoted Jörgen Holmberg, one of her SMARTee Project colleagues, who said, 'Many of the students have problems collaborating with a student sitting next to them or even talking to the kid next to them. That's a huge barrier. But with our kids it's easier for them to collaborate with a kid sitting in another country,’” the article said.

Special education teachers who participated in similar global learning projects expressed the same kind of benefits to learning for their students.

Elementary school science teacher Michael Soskil, for example, told THEJournal how after interacting with students in Kenya, his special needs students felt a profound emotional connection to their Kenyan friends.

"'What we know about learners, whether they're special ed or regular ed, is that in order to transfer information from short term to long term memory, they have to have an emotional connection with what they're learning,' said Soskil," according to the article.

"And especially children that have different learning disabilities that are in special ed classrooms, need that emotional connection to really make learning gains. And what global collaboration does, especially when it's on a meaningful topic, where kids are doing good in the world, is it really creates those emotional connections that allow kids to hold onto information.”

Read the full article.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

5/11/2016

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