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Facilitating learning for students with special needs: a review of technology-supported special education studies

  • Shu-Chen Cheng
  • Chiu-Lin LaiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Owing to physical or mental disabilities, disabled students often come across more difficulties in learning. In an effort to improve their learning, researchers have adopted technology-supported tools to enhance disabled students’ adaptability to the learning environment and their learning achievement. The application of technology-supported special education has gradually increased in recent years. However, there is still a lack of investigation and analysis of the application and development trends of integrating technologies into special education. The aim of the present study was therefore to review technology-supported special education research articles by taking multiple dimensions into account, such as learning devices, learning strategies, learning domains and research issues, research subjects, types and level of disabilities, and learning environments. Based on the results, the number of studies has increased year by year, and the choice of learning devices and applications has become increasingly diverse; yet, the learning strategies still tend to be conservative since the majority of studies adopted the guided learning strategy. In addition, the application of technology has expanded to every learning domain, but is mainly focused on elementary school students and resource classrooms. Most importantly, the implementation of technology-supported special education tends not to result in teaching difficulties due to disabled students having different types and levels of disabilities. Further discussion and suggestions based on the findings can serve as a reference for teachers and researchers in special education.

Keywords

Special education Technology-supported learning Interactive learning environment Literature review Trend analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported in part by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China under contract numbers MOST 106-2511-S-152-012-MY3.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Moreover, the authors would like to state that there is no potential conflict of interest in this study, and the analyzed data can be provided upon requests via sending e-mails to the corresponding author.

Ethical approval

The study has been examined and advised by an academic ethics review committee. As the data were collected from an online database rather than a group of subjects, there is no privacy or personal rights problem in this study.

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Copyright information

© Beijing Normal University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Applied Science and TechnologyNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of EducationNational Taipei University of EducationTaipeiTaiwan

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