How can ICT Help Special Needs Children Integrate Themselves in Society?
“We are seen as ‘abnormal’ because we are different, we are problem people, lacking the equipment for social integration.” (Brisenden, 1986)
Not so long ago, society was to blame for secluding and cutting off special needs people, from complete partaking in society and as a result, these impaired people ended up demoralized and feeling inferior to others. Today we know that special needs people, try their best to learn to communicate with the rest of society. The problem is not whether they succeed or not, the problem is; Are we, as part of society, doing enough effort to help them in their lifetime struggle?
The International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) has recently initiated learning environments which integrates Computer Technology and Good teaching in order to increase the motivation and self-esteem of special needs students. Researchers following closely the program have stated that Computer technology enhances these children’s ability to solve problems and make decisions, they build a positive self-image, they are excited about learning and thus they become better citizens.
One major reason for using ICT was to reduce the large rate of dropouts. Researchers have concluded that Children with Literacy Problems (mostly dyslexics), often lack behind the rest of their class, give up on learning and end-up as school dropouts, feeling unable to fit in a society. ISTE has created a learning program called Video Disk Spaced System. This proved to be highly successful as it was not only a support for these children, in order to keep up with the rest of the class but it also managed to promote that positive self-image concept. Computer technology motivated these kids and they in turn appreciated the potential of ICT in a learning environment. Results have shown that ICT did help these special needs children as the dropout rate decreased to three times lower than the natural average.
ICT can also help physically impaired children by fulfilling their dreams. In example Sharita a physically disabled child dreams to become a writer but unfortunately she cannot move her fingers. Computer technology has helped her fulfil her dream by devising a long extended stick in the form or a finger with which she can press the letters on a computer keyboard.
Another concrete example regarded Megan who is unable to speak and write because she has Cerebral Palsy, however through ICT she was awarded as the Top English Student in her class. A Light Talker was devised, which is basically a matrix of letters and phrases. Through the use of a head switch (because Megan can only control the movement of her head), she can stop vertical movements of light at the desired row and stop the horizontal movement of light at the desired letter or phrase. Through ICT
Megan is thus able to communicate with tremendous effort. However one has to keep in mind that without this device Megan can neither develop her intellectual potential, nor can she express herself as a part of society.
Through the examples discussed above one can realise that by Integrating Computer Technology with learning, these special needs children are becoming more eager to learn, they are being provided with new ways to manipulate their environment in order to communicate better with the rest of society, barriers are being blown away and a variety of new worlds opened up, all by the use of Computer Technology. Apart from all this, ICT has provided them with what any individual wants that is their independence.
Illegal Copying of Intellectual Property
Alert!! You may be Unaware of Committing Computer Crimes…
* What is Illegal Copying?
A widely used term which means the same as illegal copying is Copyright Theft or Copyright Infringement.
Copyright theft occurs when making use of protected work such as: software programs; another writer’s text; movies; sounds; and images, without actually paying the required fee for authorisation.
* Illegal Copying and the Use of Computers:
The use of Computers has made the act of copying far easier and handier than in the past. Burton (1996) argued that the Internet is one big copying machine that is basically ridiculing copyright laws.
* What is considered as Copyright Violation?
Software Piracy – Software copying such as copying a program from one diskette to another.
Network Piracy – Distributing unauthorised copyright materials in digitized form ex: record companies have protested against sending unauthorized copies of digital recordings over the internet.
Plagiarism – Illegal Copying of Academic Property: such as another writer’s text, journals etc. Interpreting and presenting them as one’s own.
Ownership of media – Altering images, movies and sounds.
* Plagiarism: Illegal Copying of Academic Property:
You as a student may think it is harmless making one copy of an Academic Software program while the teacher is looking away, but you need to keep in mind that if all students should think the same as you think, then one single act of software piracy, will be then multiplied thousands of times. In addition to this if you are caught copying illegally Scholar property, you may end up sued by the school itself.
Interpreting other writers’ texts (found while researching for assignments) and presenting them as your own is also considered as a criminal offence and one can end up permanently suspended from school.
* The Results of Getting Caught :
If you are caught using pirated academic software, you could:
Face civil fines (which you don’t afford and your parents may want to kill you)
Endure humiliating publicity
End up with a criminal record (which affects you future)
* A Word of Advice:
It is not ethical to illegally copy any intellectual property nor is it worth risk taking because there is a high percentage of getting a computer virus and worse the risk of getting caught!
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