Can We Transform Special Education with Tech?

We know that education technology has the power to transform learning for all students, but it may prove particularly powerful for special education students, argues a recent feature in the Huffington Post. A recent surge in online and blended learning opportunities has critically altered the options available for students with special needs, a population which is often left behind by education reform.

There’s no one type of special education student, but the vast majority of them struggle in traditional classroom settings due to a lack of personalized instruction. That’s not the teacher’s fault – it’s impossible to meet the individual needs of every student! But it does represent a systemic issue which is particularly troublesome for students with special needs. Online learning changes the game entirely: it allows everything to be personalized. The Huffington Post tells the story of Carlos, an autistic student whose struggles with reading have been partially mitigated after beginning an online reading intervention program. Carlos serves as a case study for an overriding trend: “the more customization a student requires, as is often the case with kids with special needs who need adaptations in pacing, methodology, presentation, and curriculum, the more attractive virtual ed can be.”

We at CoSN are such strong believers in ed tech partly because of its unique potential to personalize learning. If it can do that for at-risk populations, all the better. We can’t wait to see how special education changes over the next few years – here’s our prediction for a huge leap forward.