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2004 Laptop Use By Seventh Grade Students with Disabilities: Perceptions of Special Education Teachers

Date: February 2004
Author: Walter J. Harris & Lori Smith
Affiliation: Maine Education Policy Research Institute University of Maine Office
Keywords: special education


This study used a mail survey to examine special education teachers' perceptions of the use and impact of one-to-one laptop computers provided to seventh grade students with disabilities and their teachers by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). Overall, special education teachers viewed the laptops as highly beneficial to their students with few exceptions.

Key Findings:

The laptops were credited with:

* improving the engagement of students with disabilities with their school work;

* increasing their motivation and ability to work independently; and

* improving their class participation, interaction with other students, interaction with teachers, and class preparation.

Special education teachers and parents indicated that the laptops also increased students' personal organization. Assignments and student work were more frequently organized in 'folders' on the 'desktop' of their laptop computers. Material was more easily organized by subject area and electronically filed.

Also reported was an increase in the quality and quantity of student writing and the laptops allowed them to produce work that was easily edited and looked as good as the work of their non-disabled peers.

A few exceptions were noted:

* Students who were highly distractible,

* blind and partially sighted students, and

* highly anxious students with low tolerance for frustration were all described as students who could not benefit from the use of laptops.

Source Article: http://www.usm.maine.edu/cepare/Reports/MLTI_Report2.pdf