Tips for Using Interactive Whiteboards to Increase Participation of Students with Disabilities
Whitby, Peggy J. S., Leininger, Mark L., Grillo, Kelly, Teaching Exceptional Children
As more children with disabilities are served in the inclusive settings (U.S. Department of Education, 2010) and are expected to compete academically with their peers (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), there is an increased need for interventions to support their learning. It has been suggested that technology can serve as a means to increase outcomes for students with disabilities, yet teachers report little training on how to use advanced technology such as whiteboards (Campbell & Martin, 2010). Given the challenges associated with autism and the apparent desire of students with autism to engage in technological activities, emerging technologies may be a means of increasing quality of life for those with autism as well as other students with disabilities (Tincani & Boutot, 2005). This article presents the characteristics of students with learning disabilities that lend themselves to technology as a successful educational intervention, present tips for using the interactive whiteboard (IWB) as a means to increase participation and academic engagement for all students, and discuss strategies to increase student outcomes when using IWBs to support students. Resources for teachers are also provided.
The teaching pedagogy employed in most classrooms is delivered via spoken language, although many students have deficits in receptive and expressive language. When students do not have the receptive language abilities to acquire meaning from verbal instructions, they miss learning opportunities (Tissot & Evans, 2003). As the content becomes more advanced, students may have difficulties understanding abstract information (Peelers, 1997). However, many students have strong visual processing skills and can process instructional directions and content when presented in a visual format or with visual support (Tissot & Evans, 2003). Technology has shown promise as an intervention in supporting the receptive language needs by (a) increasing student understanding through visual support of learning materials (Pennington, 2010), (b) providing a visual concrete representation of absttact concepts (Peeters, 1997), and (c) allowing for repetition of an activity or model without the effort and risk of inconsistency (Goldsmith & LeBlanc, 2004). Additionally, computer-generated speech may be preferable for students who have difficulty understanding pragmatics and prosody of person-generated instructions (Pennington, 2010).
Students may also have difficulty with expressive language. Technology has been shown to be a promising intervention in addressing expressive language deficits as it may mitigate the difficulties in retrieval by providing an array of visual (Pennington, 2010) and mechanical prompts to increase initiation, interactions, and extend behaviors (Goldsmith & LeBlanc, 2004). Difficulties in attention further impact the abilities of students in an inclusive classroom. Technology is a promising intervention to address the attention issues of students as it may allow students to (a) engage in preferred tasks or restricted interests (Boyd, Alter, & Conroy, 2005), (b) sustain attention as the multimodal material directs attention to the salient features of a lesson, and (c) shift attention or prepare for changes as prompts can be embedded into the instruction (Goldsmith & LeBlanc, 2004).
An individual will usually be motivated to engage in activities they prefer (Harris & Reid, 2005). IWBs take the preferences of children and present an activity in a large group format, which forces the child to engage with others and provides opportunities to teach attention, social interactions, and communication. Instruction with IWBs differs from traditional computer-assisted instruction because it provides opportunities to teach social and communication skills in a whole group interactive setting versus an individual learning experience (Swan, Schenker, & Kratcoski, 2008). IWBs are well suited for supporting whole-class teaching compared to personal computers, which integrate less readily into wholeclass teaching methods (Kennewell, 2001).
IWBs provide versatility, multimedia ability, efficiency, interactivity, collaboration, motivation, and instant access to the Internet. They allow users to display and manipulate computer images through a digital projector. Researchers suggest the use of IWBs increases students' motivation and enjoyment in learning (Levy, 2002), enjoyment in presenting and discussing their work (Kennewell, 2001), and academic achievement (Swan et al., 2008).
However, using an IWB can be intimidating for teachers with little technology training (Campbell & Martin, 2010). The result is that teachers do not realize the potential of the 1WB in terms of teaching and learning. Tutorials for Whiteboard and Promethean Boards can assist teachers in developing their IWB skills (see Table 1). Once the teacher is comfortable managing the technology of the IWB, the next step is to develop the lesson.
Technology provides educators a relatively easy way to incorporate pedagogy through multimedia content. Yet we often find that students with special needs are not provided rich experiences with current technology (Grillo, Dieker, & Ramlakhan, in press). In order to teach students in the inclusive setting using IWBs, teachers need guidance on how to design lesson plans using the IWB that support the strengths and weaknesses of all students.
Lesson Planning Using an IWB
The class is getting ready for a science lab focused on blood typing. Mr. Hanna has already prepped all of the materiah with the support of Mr. Riley, a special education teacher. Daniel, a student with autism spectrum disorder, is in Mr. Hanna's second period life science class. During whole group instruction and small group work, Daniel does not ask questions, answer questions, or discuss the material with his classmates. Other ames it appears Daniel has a difficult time engaging in the learning material.
There are considerations to make in planning a lesson infused with technology, but quality teaching and learning pedagogy depends on the teacher's awareness of student engagement and the teacher's ability to monitor student data to make instructional decisions during learning activities (Crawford, Schlager, Penuel, & Toyama, 2008). All great teachers start with great plans that isolate learning objectives and focus on achieving positive outcomes. Clark and Mayer (2003) identified four pitfalls when integrating technologies into teaching: (a) too much technology, (b) not enough technology, (c) losing sight of the goal, and (d) discovery learning. When using technology, teachers need to be careful not to focus on any one aspect of the technology to the point that learning time is lost, and to ward against accelerating lessons so that learners have time to anchor new experiences to prior knowledge. Beware of not having a clearly defined, measureable learning objective, and remain vigilant toward mastery of the goal. Although we want to become student-centered, the research does not support full-inquiry learning for students with disabilities who lack expressive language skills. When planning lessons, teachers must focus on how technology supports instructional practice.
Teachers in classrooms with IWBs must keep all segments of the lesson in mind, make meaningful visual links to materials, address manipulation of objects in the learning environment, and address automation so the lesson flows with nûuimum delays (Winkler, 2011). The following section presents tips for quality lesson planning when using an IWB in the classroom.
It is best practice to provide an advanced organizer in the opening of a lesson. Every lesson should have an overview that includes clearly identified lesson objectives.
Tip ?: Pair a sound with an image to identify the learning objective.
Mr. Hanna begins the lesson by pairing visual images with sounds aimed at supporting Daniel in making transitions and at helping him predict classroom routines. In today's lesson, Mr. Hanna has a big image of a magnifying glass and a sound bue of Inspector Gadget (http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v = e-JHfXVlkik) as the students enter the classroom.
With an IWB. teachers have the ability to add a sound device that can be set to strike every day with the same noise paired with the text of a learning objective and an image. For example, science teachers can play a sound bite from Inspector Gadget for 3 to 5 seconds paired with a magnifying glass to notify students that the learning goal is coming. Teachers should then state specifically what students are to learn during the lesson.
Tip 2: Use avatars to confirm the learning objective.
The students are learning about blood typing, and this concept is not always easy to learn. They begin with bell work. Mr. Hanna taps his IWB and says, "Here is the critical question for today." An avatar that looks like a mad scientist asks in a digitized voice, "Da you know your blood type? What is it? And why are blood types important?" The question also appears on the bottom of the IWB with a big question mark and a timer counting down from 2 minutes.
With an IWB, teachers can use avatars such as a Voki (www.voki.com; Oddcast, Inc., 2011) to state the learning objective. Using avatars increases student interest and allows the teacher to monitor understanding by questioning students to see if they can Testate the day's learning goal.
Tip 3: Use anchoring activities with video, multimedia, or photos.
Mr. Hanna shows a 4-minute video clip on blood typing and its importance in life-saving measures. He presents a few questions that have been preprogrammed into an interactive PowerPoint to anchor students' thinking for the upcoming lesson.
IWBs allow teachers to provide anchored learning for students who lack background knowledge or have difficulty connecting new learning to prior learning. An anchored activity might be a short (2-3 minute) film or pictorial representation of the concept taught to assist students with linked past learning while building rationale for the targeted learning goal. In lesson openings, teachers often use prediction strategies to help students activate prior knowledge and increase engagement. With the use of IWBs, teachers can establish deeper engagement by asking students to create picture predictions. The IWBs allow teachers to use tools like Piclits (www.piclits.com; Friedlander, 2011) or upload photos to evoke ideas relevant to the lesson. Students can write terms on top of the images or select from a list of terms that help them engage even when they have language or vocabulary deficits.
The IWBs allow teachers to move from the center of learning, in the form of lecturing, to an environment that increases students' active involvement in the construction of knowledge and participation. Teacher modeling is often accomplished by active performance of a skill or learning objective. In the IWB classroom, multimedia and Web-based resources allow teachers to provide real-world examples. As media is displayed in an IWB classroom, teachers can pause and discuss videos, simulation, model metacognition, or elicit ideas from the class.
Tip 4: Use simulations and manipulates for specific models.
The student stations have an activity called Using Blood Tests to Identify Babies and Criminals. Students are instructed to read the first two pages as a timer on the IWB counts down from 8 minutes. Mr. Hanna stops the class and calls on a student volunteer to model a blood type simulation (http://www . nobelprize. org/educational/medtdne /landsteiner/landsteiner.html; Nobel Media A.B., 2011).
Mr. Hanna has a volunteer come up to the IWB station to complete the blood transfusion game while soliciting support from the class in making decisions. The student returns to his or her seat and Mr. Hanna directs the class to continue working on the blood typing lab packet for 25 minutes while he calls groups to come up to the IWB to complete the transfusion game (see Figure 1).
The IWBs provide great opportunities for learning through concrete and safe simulation (see http://www .teacherled.com/aU-interactive-whiteboard-resources/; Riley, 2011). If handson learning opportunities are too costly or dangerous for live manipulation, IWBs make the perfect replacement instructional tool. Not only can teachers encourage students to take the lead by coming up to the IWB as teaching assistants, they can use think-alouds (a form of explicit modeling in which teachers provide an oral description of the cognitive processes they go through as they complete a task with their students so that students can understand how a successful student processes the information at hand) to model metacognition.
Tip 5: Use questioning responses as data.
The IWB played: "In five, four, three, two, one, hands down and heads up." Mt. Hanna has an image of a cell phone with the Poll Everywhere logo on the IWB (Poll Everywhere, Inc., 2011; http://www.polleverywhere. com/). Students were instructed to text responses to assessment questions to Poll Everywhere. They were able to see anonymous, real-time responses appear on the IWB.
Teachers use questioning to monitor instruction. From low-tech to hightech response systems, student answers provide teachers in an IWB classroom needed instructional data. In the IWB classroom, teachers can preprogram curriculum questions into programs like PowerPoint, or use the quiz feature from educational web sites like BrainPOP (www.brainpop .com; FWD Media, Inc., 2011) as a group activity to see if students understand the material. For a low-tech option, students can be given three note cards of different colors (green, red, and yellow). When a yes or no answer is appropriate, a green note card can mean yes, a red card can mean no, and a yellow card can signify uncertainty. Teachers can observe student response frequencies as a measure of learning. If teachers are able to use the IWB in parallel with technology-based response systems or "clickers," the clickers provide the teachers advantages that include (a) responding anonymously, (b) monitoring responses, (c) active participation, (d) increased learning enjoyment, and (e) analysis of in-time responses (Moss & Crowley, 2011). This may allow shy students to have increased engagement (Stowell, Oldham & Bennett, 2010). If the students bring their mobile phones to school, then a low-cost response option is to use the mobile phoneenabled-texting as a response system. Free response systems such as Poll Everywhere (2011) use the text feature on mobile phones to give teachers and students the ability to visually see the thinking of others. This information determines instructional pacing and allows for teachers to review, redo, and reanalyze steps in the body of the lesson if students are not grasping the concepts or learning objectives. Teachers should be reminded to check with their administration for schoolbased policy on cell phone use for educational purposes in the classroom as policies may vary from school to school.
Tip 6: Use feedback through coaching opportunities.
Most of the student groups are made up of four students; however, because Daniel seems to work best when paired with small groups, Mr. Hanna and Mr. Riley made the decision that Daniel will work with two students in his group. Mr. Hanna chooses Malik to be a peer mentor in the group because both Malik and Daniel love NASCAR and because Malik is patient, kind, and caring. The lab groups complete the simulation while Mr. Hanna is able to give feedback to the students and use questioning techniques that lead students to the answers in the simulation.
In the IWB classroom, it is important to allow for individual student exploration. If there are not enough computers for every student to have one, create centers or rotations where the practice of the targeted skill can be monitored and feedback can be provided. Each student should receive specific feedback and praise (such as telling the student how they were successful or what they need to do differently) while actively engaged in the simulation. Teachers must shape, rephrase, and reward correct answers for students in the inclusive classroom who may have low self-confidence or be reluctant to take risks.
The last step is to evaluate students' learning. Teachers can use percentages correct, scoring rubrics, or performance-based criteria before moving on to a new learning objective. The evaluation should be directly aligned with the objective and should not be a surprise to students.
Tip 7: Use varied assessment strategies.
After 25 minutes, the students were instructed to stop working by the iWB prompting them with a voice saying: "In five, four, three, two, one, hands down and heads up. " Mr. Hanna then instructs students to partner with the lab group to their right. The students share one thing they learned and one thing they still need to leam. The pairing of this group was purposeful as Daniel's partner was prechosen. Tonya is Daniel's partner for this think-pairshare activity. Daniel rides the bus with Tonya, who is a peer mentor.
In IWB classrooms, teachers have the flexibility to use response systems that inform practice. Having students submit in-time vocabulary or ideas to Poll Everywhere (2011) provides teachers with immediate feedback on students' learning and which areas may need further instruction. Having students identify important terminology for assessment, create a word bank, and interact with the terms ensures student-centered evaluation procedures.
The teacher could assess student performance by providing students a word cloud produced from the items students sent in via Poll Everywhere (2011) in a wordcloud (see www .wordle.net; Feinberg, 2009]. Students are asked to create an essay from the word cloud using 10% of the terms on the cloud. As a variation, teachers could decide to use a picture story and have the students choose terms to express learning from the word cloud, providing a verbal justification of how the terms represent the photo. Using evaluations that ask students to create plausible claims and defend their choices is an application and synthesis level evaluation; paper and pencil worksheets rarely get to this level of evaluation.
Tip 8: Refine the lesson.
The well-planned IWB lesson allows students to acquire knowledge and skiUs, and provides multiple practice sessions to hone skills to fluency. When learning is monitored through the use of technology, teachers are able to immediately extinguish errors in thinking and show multimedia items to redirect misconceptions and support corrective thinking. Using response systems and interactive assessment strategies (www.quizrevouition.com; Quiz Revolution. Inc., 2011) to monitor student engagement and learning should inform practice during the IWB lesson. Teachers need to be ready to redefine the lesson based on the assessment results to meet the needs of the students.
Teachers need to monitor more than academic achievement. They need to monitor social interaction, response to questions, attention to task, and comprehension of the materials. If any of these areas of concern persist, the teacher may want to evaluate the complexity of the task and determine if overstimulation is occurring. If a problem is identified, the teacher can reduce the complexity of the task by chunking information and enhancing visual modalities through the use of simple graphics while limiting other sensory input. It is a good idea to limit audio to simple instructions without music.
Mr. Hanna tells his students that tomorrow's lesson will focus on completing the blood-typing activity. He tells them to keep their packets at the station while the IWB shows photos for cleanup, packets at the station, and students putting up folders in a shelf. The photos presented on the IWB are from Mr. Hanna's classroom. One of the photos shows Daniel putting away his work packet in the station. Mr. Hanna uses pictures of his students performing tasks in his classmom after securing written permission from their guardians.
Students with disabilities in the inclusive environment need concrete, direct feedback (Larson, South, Krauskopf, Clawson, & Crowley, 2011). This feedback should be delivered as close to the target behavior as possible. Positive reinforcement increases the likelihood the behavior will be exhibited again. Corrective feedback should focus on what the student needs to do versus what the student did wrong. Corrective feedback in a large group may increase anxiety for some students; therefore, it should be made as private as possible.
The use of technology as a means for group response and anonymity may remove the social anxiety of responding. If a teacher chooses a technology tool for feedback, it may also increase the student's engagement in responding as technology may be a preferred interest (Shane & Albert, 2008).
Students with disabilities may have difficulty generalizing skills; therefore, their abilities may vary from one context or environment to another. Assessment should not be based on a single occurrence or learning opportunity. Assessment should occur in multiple settings, with multiple people, and be applied to several different contexts to ensure that learning has moved outside the context of the lesson.
If assessing student performance in pairs or small groups, great care should be taken when choosing partners. Students with disabilities are frequently bullied and teased (Heinrichs, 2003). Teachers may want to identify more than one student who will be trained to serve as a peer tutor in order to increase support throughout a variety of settings and activities.
Any web site or Internet resource a teacher can use on the computer can be used on the IWB. Table 2 provides a list of IWB resources for the classroom teacher. As with any classroom curriculum tool, it is important for the teacher to review the material prior to use, align the Internet resource with the state teaching standards, and choose materials to support the lessons. Many times texts will suggest Internet and web-based material to support the lessons.
Current trends indicate that technology is making the classroom more interactive by incorporating collaborative tools through the use of interactive software. Students are now required to share information by utilizing technology through IWBs, Google Docs, Wikis, Podcasts, and related software. Richardson (2010) suggests that me traditional classroom environment is being replaced by open-source classrooms in which everyone contributes to the curriculum. In addition, independent class work is now delivered via collaborative, technological engagement with peers. The days of teacher lectures may be waning as students use technology to design learning. Students are no longer expected to know the answers, but are expected to know where to find them. Teachers may take on the roles of technology facilitators and content providers. As technology evolves, teachers must embrace these changes in order to find creative ways to support and improve learning. The IWB technology provides opportunities for social interactions and communication, the ability to use students' strengths to guide learning, and interventions to increase participation and motivation for students in the inclusive classroom setting (Mechling, Gast, & Kupa, 2007).
IWBs take the preferences of children and present an activity in a large group format, which forces the child to engage with others and provides opportunities to teach attention, social interactions, and communication.
Teachers may want to identify more than one student who will be trained to serve as a peer tutor in order to increase support throughout a variety of settings and activities.
As technology evolves, teachers must embrace these changes in order to find creative ways to support and improve learning.
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Peggy J. S. Whitby (UNLV Student CEC). Assistant Professor, Department of Educational and Clinical Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Mark L. Leininger (UNLV Student CEC), School Psychologist, Clark County Public Schools, Clark County, Nevada. Kelly Grillo (Florida CEC), Assistant Professor, High Point University, High Point. North Camlina.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Peggy Whitby, Department of Educational and Clinical Studies, 4S05 S. Maryland Parkway, Box #453014, Las Vegas, NV 891 54-301 (e-mail: peggy. firstname.lastname@example.org).
TEACHING Exceptional Children, Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 50-57.
Copyright 2012 CEC.…
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Publication information: Article title: Tips for Using Interactive Whiteboards to Increase Participation of Students with Disabilities. Contributors: Whitby, Peggy J. S. - Author, Leininger, Mark L. - Author, Grillo, Kelly - Author. Magazine title: Teaching Exceptional Children. Volume: 44. Issue: 6 Publication date: July/August 2012. Page number: 50+. © Council for Exceptional Children Jan/Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.