Blogs and Wikis: How Can They Help Students with Disabilities?

Blogs

  • Classroom Blogs: Teachers can post assignments, classroom notes, lectures, and other material on their blog.
    • Can help students with an attention or auditory disorder to review class material multiple times.
    • Can help students with a learning disorder and ADHD if they misplace or forget schoolwork by providing a central location for students to locate important class information, like handouts or worksheets.
    • Can help all students who struggle with organization.
  • Online Discussions: Classroom blogs can facilitate class discussions on almost any assignment.
    • Can help students with learning disorders, like dyslexia, by allowing the student to think about their answer and post it when they’re ready.
    • Can help students with writing learning disorders, like dysgraphia, who may struggle with in-class writing prompts by allowing the student to participate fully, particularly if he or she uses speech-to-text or word prediction software to assist in drafting their writing.
  • Personal Blogs: Can be a great way of expressing thoughts and feelings and encouraging writing.
    • Can help reluctant or struggling writers to write more frequently.
    • Can help students with learning disorders to become stronger writers by improve language and reading skills.
  • Blog Software: Teachers can use educational blog software to have complete control over content.
    • Can help ensure that student blogs don’t become places for inappropriate comments and bullying.
    • Can help students follow internet safety and appropriate online behavior.

Wikis

  • Classroom Wiki: Teachers can use wikis to have students collaborate on a specific topic they’re studying.
    • Can help motivate struggling writers to write more frequently because of the collaboration involved.
    • Can help students with learning disorders to working with others to share knowledge.
      • Writers can edit each other’s work, comment on information, and share their areas of expertise.
    • Can help provide students with learning disorders valuable feedback on their writing.
    • Can help give students with learning disorders a platform for sharing something they know a great deal about, which can help with self-esteem and strength recognition.

Although blogs, wikis, and other current digital communication, like e-mail and text messaging, can help students with disabilities academically and socially, they also have the potential to confuse students. Since there is an explicit difference in the formal language required for written communications, and the less formal language frequently used in blogs, e-mails, and text messaging, teachers should set expectations for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure according to the specific assignments.

Tip #1: To help with this language requirement, teachers can utilize software that helps with spelling, drafting, and grammar.

Tip #2: Teachers can edit student work before putting it up on the web, or they can assign another student edit their work, so students with learning disorders can produce at the same level of expectation as their peers.

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