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Preparing special education frontline professionals for a new teaching experience

17.05.2013

A large number of special education professionals agree on the fact that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are an important tool for teachers and students to overcome barriers and promote the acquisition of skills. ICT can promote school and social inclusion by diminishing the obstacles for students with Special Education Needs (SEN).

A correct educational implementation of ICT depends strongly on the teachers' awareness of their possibilities in the classroom, their training and their capacity to adapt to the differentiated learning styles of SEN students. However, the lack of training on ICT is one of the most frequently pointed reasons for not using or misusing them as pedagogical tools or individual Assistive Technologies among pupils with SEN.

This paper reports the findings of a survey conducted among teachers attending a Master’s Degree on Special Education in which they were asked to analyse the acquisition of general ICT skills and specially oriented ICT solutions for students with learning disabilities. The collection, compilation and processing of the survey's data describes and explains the actual perceptions, skills and training needs of this professional group.

The results confirm that special education teachers support the use of ICT as a useful tool in the education of students with learning disabilities. However, the conclusions show that prior to a specific ICT for SEN training, teachers must acquire a set of basic ICT skills. The educational support provided by trained and specialized professionals assisted by ICT means and techniques constitutes an extraordinary aid for those disadvantaged students.