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A pilot program initially designed for a 12-year-old girl with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities in higher order computer tasks was developed for a larger group of students with similar disabilities enrolled in fifth and sixth grades (ages 9-12) at three different schools. An examination of the original pilot study was undertaken to determine critical aspects that led to its success. This paper discusses why further research is needed into the effects of computer interventions in this area, and then focuses on development of the program for the larger group. The first stage of the intervention involved bringing participants together and introducing them to easy-to-use software. Students' interests and needs were ascertained and recorded along with their levels of prior computer experience. Once students worked through several months of less structured, easier computer tasks, they moved on to more structured activities using Microsoft Publisher. Peer tutoring needed to be continued after different steps were mastered. As skills developed, more emphasis was placed on thought-provoking elements of design and how the overall product related to students' interests. During the final stages of the program, SCALA MM200, a multimedia authoring package, was used to further advance the progress of the group, and the same instructional strategies were used with this software. (Contains 20 references.) (AEF)

Descriptors: Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Software, Equal Education, Foreign Countries, Instructional Design, Intermediate Grades, Learning Activities, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Peer Teaching, Pilot Projects, Prior Learning, Program Development, Skill Development, Special Education, Technology Integration, Tutoring

Autor: Anderson, Neil


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