Teacher Use of Word Processing in Rural Special Education
Seven rural counties on Maryland's Eastern Shore cooperated in a 3-year project to determine the feasibility of using microcomputers to instruct special education students in writing skills. All 42 participating teachers received inservice training in teaching writing to special education students; the 26 teachers in the experimental group were also trained in computer use and word processing. Students came from grades 4-12, with the majority from grades 4-9. About half of the classes contained 10 or fewer students and half contained 11-20. Private businesses donated 50 reconditioned outdated Apple computers. In the first phase of project evaluation, experimental-group teachers completed attitude surveys about the practical aspects of using microcomputers and word processing programs. Results showed generally positive teacher perceptions of the project: 77-88% were satisfied with the software program, software training, and technical assistance, but only 50% were satisfied with the equipment. Teachers indicated that word processing had an important positive effect on the writing skills of their mildly handicapped students. Future evaluations will focus on objective measures of change in student writing skills and followup observations of teachers' classroom practices. This paper contains three data tables. (SV)
Gray, J.B. Teacher Use of Word Processing in Rural Special Education.