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This British study evaluated the effectiveness of use of individual portable computers by seven students (from elementary through college age) having severe specific learning difficulties or dyslexia. The study also examined the impact of the machines on pupils' levels of independence and the practicalities of using the machines. This report describes the project's objectives and management, criteria for selection of students, and student preparation and machine set-up. Use of the computers was analyzed in terms of frequency of use and diversity of use. Emphasized throughout the project was student control of machine use. Frequency of use was sometimes limited by the machines' weight, as well as by individual student personality and group dynamics. Diversity of use was somewhat dependent upon the student age and type of written work expected at different stages in the educational setting. The study found that students improved substantially in their notetaking skills, attitudes toward work, attitudes toward spelling, writing skills, and keyboarding skills. Other changes included increased independence in learning style. Minimal organizational accommodations were required of the schools involved. Factors determining success of such a project are noted, along with implications of the project in terms of the relationship of computers to teaching style, handwriting in the National Curriculum, and requirements for "written" assessment. (Contains 22 references.) (DB)

Descriptors: Assistive Devices (for Disabled), Attitude Change, Computer Uses in Education, Dyslexia, Educational Media, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, Learning Disabilities, Microcomputers, Participant Satisfaction, Student Attitudes, Writing Skills

Autor: Price, Geraldine


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