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Especially social: Exploring the use of an iOS application in special needs classrooms

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Computers & Education Volume 60, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


A five-month exploratory study was conducted with iOS mobile devices in two Toronto area schools with students in grades 7 through 12. Both classrooms were identified as Special Education classes by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and each student was identified as having exceptionalities requiring additional support and differentiation within the curriculum to support their success. Participants used MyVoice, a mobile application that is customizable through a website, which allows users to input vocabulary words and link words with pictures. The application can also be used to speak on behalf of users. Based on findings that technology perceived to be ‘fun’ by students has the potential to improve motivation in learning contexts, we aimed to (i) assess the degree to which the use of iOS devices and the MyVoice application affects attention and motivation levels for students with special needs, and (ii) identify factors that had the greatest influence on the integration of the technologies with existing curricula. Results indicated a strong potential for successfully integrating mobile technology within special needs classrooms, with a high-degree of student support for using mobile devices to enhance classroom experiences. The results also highlighted the challenges of incorporating these technologies into curriculum in terms of practicality, teacher comfort, and the limitations of the device. We find that the differentiation enabled by the multi-modal features of the application and device has positive outcomes on student perception of success, and that increased self-confidence in areas of the curriculum fostered a more robust sense of community among special needs students. We conclude with study implications for information processing theory.


Campigotto, R., McEwen, R. & Demmans Epp, C. (2013). Especially social: Exploring the use of an iOS application in special needs classrooms. Computers & Education, 60(1), 74-86. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved April 15, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 31, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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