Is Blended Special Education a Better Model?
Needs and abilities are unique to each student. When it comes to students with special needs, education is the key to not only boost their emancipation within society, but also increase self-esteem and qualifications. Providing special needs students with high quality education is challenging therefore using more personalized tools and modern curriculum is necessary. While traditional programs regarding special education have been criticized as being ineffective, blended learning programs may be a solution to increasing achievement among students with disabilities.
Blended learning represents a shift from classroom learning to the online delivery of individualized learning for a portion of the day to make students, teachers and schools more productive. For students with special needs, blended learning can offer increased engagement and an emphasis on individualized programming. However, educators and administrators must consider special and innovative contents to ensure the successful implementation of this teaching and learning style.
Blended learning requires a lot of preparation, which would consequently provide a better formula for students with special needs, who are often deprived of a quality education. According to the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (2013), “many [teachers] are not aware of the importance of some foundational practice for online learning programs and how online learning affects students with disabilities”. Technology offers promising tools for students and teachers in Special Education and has beneficial content for kids with disabilities.
Blended learning has the potential to redefine special education because of its emphasis on individualized learning. Investing in the right tools can improve the quality of education special students receive and having access to a number of educational resources for special education is a must. As Robert Meehan mentioned, “Digital learning can be the answer for special education as it means not being confined to Brick & Mortar classrooms; using blended learning platforms to differentiate experiences”.