Applications of Online Instruction: An Overview for Teachers, Students With Mild Disabilities, and Their Parents

Sean J. Smith, Edward L. Meyen
2017 Focus on exceptional children  
With the emergence of the personal computer in the late 1970s came high expectations for the potential of technology to benefit education. It was anticipated that all students would benefit from this new technology, especially those with disabilities. It was expected that computers would enrich the education of the gifted and talented just as they would open new avenues to learning for students with disabilities (Cuban, 1986) . This scenario was only partially achieved. Funds were insufficient
more » ... o make computers readily accessible to students and even teachers. The publishing industry fell short in developing creative programs that were both effective and easily implemented. Teachers were ill prepared to integrate the use of this technology into their teaching, and higher education fell short in insuring that new teachers were prepared to use technology as an instructional tool (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). There was, however, a response to exploit technology in the creation of assistive devices to enhance learning environments for students with disabilities. From an instructional perspective it was not until the evolvement of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the Internet did technology begin to significantly impact education. The educational benefits of technology are now beginning to be realized for all levels throughout the lifespan. The role of the Internet in bringing about unprecedented growth in e-learning should not be minimized. The communication and distribution capacity of the WWW and the Internet have spawned a new form of pedagogy and given rise to renewed expectations of what technology can do for education and especially quality of life for persons with disabilities. The growth rate of online instruction for all levels of education and training in industry is difficult to comprehend-particularly when one realizes that the functional use of the Internet for instruction is less than ten years old. Streaming media was not a stable feature for instruction until 1997. Instructional Management Systems
doi:10.17161/foec.v35i6.6798 fatcat:wn3habfpjjev3arkgstea4tlpy