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Research on computers in education is several years behind actual computer use.Other than case studies, most research on using computers in instruction has been done with school children and has tested commercial software packages.In fact, most educational software is based on behaviorism: the idea that people learn when they are simply exposed to information and are rewarded for choosing right answers.Beyond individual teachers' recommendations and experiences, adult basic educators have little firm evidence for the most effective ways to use technology in the ABE setting.Studies of children have found that computer programs are more motivating when they included the user's name and interests in the problems (Cordova & Lepper, 1996) and used game formats (Fitzgerald & Koury, 1996).
They may have used the language experience approach, in which a student dictates a story to the teacher, who writes it down so the student can then read it.
They need to be able to analyze and read critically, to explain what they believe and why they believe it.
ABE students might feel nervous when asked "why" in front of a class.
In this article, I will explore these features, and address some reasons why educational software designed for ABE often fails to incorporate these features.
Then I will examine the implications of our knowledge about computer-assisted instruction for ABE teachers.