TECHNOLOGY-SUPPORTED MATH INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: TWO DECADES OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: A Reflection by a Special Education Teacher
Posted by: | on September 19, 2011
After reading the paper “TECHNOLOGY-SUPPORTED MATH INSTRUCTION FORSTUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: TWO DECADES OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT written byTed S. Hasselbring, Alan C. Lott and Janet M. Zydney in 2006 for Center for Implementing Technology in Education“, I realized how much I havewanted to do the same here in the Philippines. Every time I listen to acolleague report about a topic or every time I hear new research about special educationand technology, I always wonder how far are we or are we (Filipinos) or are we even at par tothe current developments in using multimedia and technology in our instruction?
What do you think? Are we at par? or not?
One of my influences for being very passionate inpursuing the use of technology in instruction in my career as an educator is due in part to my exposureto Intel Teach to the Future. I think technology will play a big part in theevolution of education to cater to the changing needs of our students as well.I expect a change in the students’ needs based also from the influences andresearch I heard from my mentors here in UP such as Dr. Bustos (the need forteachers with SPED background in mainstream schools) and Dr. Camara (DigitalNatives).
I support the use of technology as a tool to alleviatethe existing difficulties in the supply and demand for quality teachers aswell. If currently there is a brain-drain here in the Philippines due to thehigh number of migrating professionals, then let’s be resourceful and creativeby providing the teachers who decided to stay with the tools they can use tomaximize their potential in teaching a large number of students with even justa few qualified teachers.
For me all the lessons I have received during my Special Education Masters Program are interrelated which inspires me to create something from theknowledge I have accumulated here in the university. I think its time to thinkon what works instead of what is not working. A saying I got from the ADHDsociety puts this in perspective “I know already my garbage, now help me findmy gems”. We know what is lacking and that is a big question which requires abigger answer of “So now let’s find a way to answer that question and let’s notjust think of a solution but rather produce something concrete and tangiblethat we can test and get results.
Let’s take a risk to try out something; do something;produce something; even if it means that we fail on this “something”. Whatmatters is that we learned something. We’ll never know what works until we’vetried it out for ourselves. Even if it means trying a thousand times at leastwe know 999 ways that will not work. That for me is learning. Real learning. AsBill Gates said, “success is a poor teacher”. It makes us think we areinvinsible. As for me, learning from mistakes is as valuable if not morevaluable as learning from successes because failures teach us the importance ofvalues.
I think the problem why there is not much being donein the Philippines compared to the technologies abroad is because wehave not cultivated the desire to experiment, to create our OWN technology.There is this thinking that products abroad are better thanwhat we will come up with. But how can we think or even dream of ever acquiringbetter products if we’ve never even tried to come up with our own prototype.
And so in my thesis, I hope to create a program that is a prototype ofsomething I think will not just help children learn math easier but teach alife skill which is financial literacy. If this program of mine can work forchildren with special needs then what more for those who do not need specialattention? Just as Montessori first developed her program for children withmental retardation as the beta testers at that time. It’s a win-win project foreveryone if it becomes successful. The question is if its successful? If itsnot then I know that my study has provided an inch forward to what could be greaterimprovements if not from me then for other researchers who would be inspired todo something about the shared we advocacy we have which is teaching the future.