September 12, 2017

Using Cloud Technology to Meet Special Education Needs

Guest blog by Sally Keys, dyslexia parent and education writer

The cloud has had a huge impact on the way we use the internet and organize our online lives over recent years, and is one of the most fast-developing aspects of digital technology. It affects our home and work life, and is also revolutionizing online learning. The impact on those with special educational needs can be even more significant.

girl at computer

Cloud computing reduces capital expenditure on equipment by allowing the use of virtual desktops that are far less expensive. It also provides a variety of storage solutions that are secure and inexpensive. Here we take a look at the benefits cloud computing is bringing to special needs education.

Bringing technology to those who need it

Cloud tech researcher and blogger Sam Garforth commented some time ago on how the cloud allows the usage of low-cost tablets for large-scale usage in education. But the benefits go beyond cost considerations, particularly for those with special needs.

Anyone can use a virtualized desktop from a basic laptop, PC or tablet, and access all the educational resources they need, from any location. This means that being of limited mobility, or having other disabilities that restrict the ability to attend school or college, are no longer barriers to achieving a full education and excelling academically.

Reducing drop out levels

In regular education, high school drop out rates have been reducing steadily since the 1960s. Yet for those in special education, the levels have remained steady. Educational Services of America (ESA) commissioned some studies to see how cloud-based solutions might help. They found that cloud deployment meant that software could be deployed within a matter of days instead of weeks and months.

They also concluded that with students no longer having to visit a special education center to use these applications, there were far fewer barriers to them continuing with their studies through to graduation.

Online library resources

An additional bonus that the cloud brings to those in special education is cloud based library resources such as Learning Ally. This provides resources such as audio books and literature to special needs children and others with disabilities.

Education for all

Digital technology provides greater and more flexible learning opportunities to everyone, regardless of their age, sex, wealth or social demographic. The use of cloud technology has also ensured that this inclusivity also extends to those with special educational needs.

Learning Ally LogoLearning Ally is a national nonprofit providing support to students who have print disabilities. To find out more, please visit LearningAlly.org

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– Jules Johnson


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