Using Computer-Assisted Instruction with Students Identified with ADHD
Xu, Reid, and Steckelberg (2002) reviewed research regarding the use of technology with students with ADHD. They found only two studies that evaluated the effects of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) for these students. While both of these investigations resulted in positive outcomes, too few studies have been conducted to reach definitive conclusions regarding the use of CAI with students with ADHD. With this caveat in mind, Xu and colleagues reviewed the characteristics of many CAI software packages and suggest that many of the recommended strategies for effective teaching of students with ADHD (and other students, for that matter) are often built into CAI. Thus, this software may be especially beneficial for students with ADHD.
Xu and colleagues' review of research suggests that, as teachers choose software for computer-assisted instruction with students with ADHD, several considerations should guide selection to ensure student engagement and motivation. Software should have characteristics such as the following:
- Provide step-by-step instructions
- Wait for student responses, then provide immediate feedback and reinforcement following responses
- Allow students to work at their own pace
- Actively involve students in learning
- Organize content into small, manageable chunks of information
- Offer repeated trials using variable formats, as needed, when learning content
- Offer novel, attention-grabbing approaches when addressing critical content (e.g., introduce new material with graphics, words, and sounds within game formats, animation, or color, or use software to simulate real-world situations with images and sounds)
Source: Adapted from Xu, C., Reid, R., & Steckelberg, A. (2000). Technology applications for children with ADHD: Assessing the empirical support. Education and Treatment of Children, 25(2), 224–228.
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