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Teaching children with and without disabilities school readiness skills

By V. Hulusic and N. Pistoljevic

Abstract

We know that computer assisted educational curricula are much more attention captivating and interesting\ud to children compared with a classic paper and pencil approach to teaching. Educational computer games\ud can easily engage students, captivate and maintain their attention allowing them both learning with teachers and\ud practicing on their own time without the teacher’s direct attention. Overall, computer based instruction increases\ud the motivation and results in faster acquisition of skills. Also, teaching children with developmental disabilities\ud requires special set of tools and methods, due to decreased level of attention towards stimuli presented and lessened\ud capability to learn in the ways typical children do. Therefore, computer based instruction seems to be a good match\ud for these diverse learners because it offers multiple exemplars, interesting and interactive practice with constant\ud feedback, multiplied learning opportunities without direct teacher engagement, and customization to each child’s\ud needs. In this paper we present the expanded LeFCA framework that was proven successful for teaching children\ud with autism basic skills and concepts, and we now tested it across various levels of learners with and without disabilities\ud across 3 different languages: Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BHS), Italian and English (US). Within the pilot\ud project, we produced four games for teaching matching, pointing out (based on visual and auditory stimuli) and\ud labeling skills, which are considered to be primary skills needed for learning. We then expanded the frame with\ud adding four more games that teach sorting, categorizing, sequencing and pattern making. The results of our user\ud study, done with 20 participants in three different languages, showed that the created software in native languages\ud was completely clear and user friendly for kids with and without special needs, and that is systematically and developmentally\ud appropriately sequenced for learning. Additionally, we found that children were able to generalize\ud learned skills, through a transfer to a new mediums or environments and their teacher reported that children were\ud very motivated and enjoyed playing the games

Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk:30373

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