C. Gomes, F. Mensah

Teachers College Columbia University (UNITED STATES)
The learning disabilities that affect many students can cause them to have difficulty with language-based communications in the form of reading and writing. This study addresses how the use of audio assistive technologies using using iPads can help learning disabled students ease the burdens of understanding science language and vocabulary. The purpose and rationale of the research is supported with scholarly references. The methodology is based on qualitative findings from interviews, observations, and artifacts and supported with quantified field data collected in the form of pretest and posttest analysis. This study on how technology can be effective in achieving science literacy for learning disabled students is presented as a case study. Research is done through the lenses of disability theory and the importance of technology for advancement in science literacy and education for all students. The information presented in this research is applicable to all educators that work with students that have disabilities/ difficulties or are learning a new language. With the development of inclusion classrooms and the growing number of students identified as disabled, the education community needs to develop greater understanding of how to assist this marginalized population in achieving science literacy.

Due to a heightened interest in learning disabilities in the educational setting and the constant and exponential advancement of technology, it seems appropriate to further understand how technology can assist individuals who are disabled to adapt to different learning needs. A postmodern perspective encompassing this research is based on three areas of study: (1) Disabilities Theories, which involves understanding that a disability is a form of human difference and not a defect (Creswell, 2007), (2) the importance of incorporating technology into curriculum to create a modified educational environment that promotes positive school change (Fullan, 2007; Wenglinsky, 2005), and (3) achieving Scientific Literacy by all students (Hurd, 1998). These assistive tools, when used properly, can allow learning for the marginalized population of individuals with LDs. Recent studies on Dyslexia, Language Learning Impairments (LLI), and other LDs have provided much information on the possible causes for these differences in learning. What many educators often forget is that when students have difficulty in the ability to read and process written information, they will struggle comprehending that information. Learning is hindered especially for students with LDs that are impaired or have decreased readings ability. By approaching learning for students by first understanding their fundamental literacy skills, educators can use techniques, learning tools, and a variety of methods to help these students learn and reach scientific literacy.