Authors: Zorfass, Judith M.
The goal of this article is to show how technology can be integrated into an I-Search Unit to support students with learning disabilities in mainstream, middle school classes. The article has three major sections. The first section provides an overview of an I-Search Unit; an inquiry-based interdisciplinary curriculum unit that has four phases. In Phase I, students become immersed in the unit's theme (such as ecology or justice) that is socially relevant and personally motivating to early adolescents. In this phase, they engage in varied activities to elicit prior knowledge and to build background knowledge. Students pose personally meaningful I-Search
…questions to investigate by the end of the phase. In Phase II, students develop a search plan that details how they will gather information by reading books, magazines, newspapers, reference materials; watching videos, filmstrips; interviewing people or conducting surveys; or carrying out experiments, doing simulations, or going on field trips. In Phase III, they gather and integrate information. Phase IV involves writing an I-Search Report that has the following sections: My Search Question, My Search Process, What I Learned, What This Means to Me, and References. The second section will show how a rich variety of technology applications can be integrated into an I-Search Unit to help students with disabilities to: • gather information • organize, analyze, and relate information • convey what they have learned One technology application, the Search Organizer, is currently under development at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). Running on the Macintosh Power-Book, the goal of this software is to provide scaffolding to students through the four phases of the I-Search Unit. The third section will present case materials illustrating how students with disabilities actually used technology to successfully participate in an I-Search Unit being implemented across regular education classes. The illustrative examples are drawn from middle schools around the country who are working with the Education Development Center as part of research and training projects.
Keywords: Middle school, learning disabilities, technology integration, curriculum
Citation: Technology and Disability,
vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 129-136, 1994
Price: EUR 27.50