Developing a reading comprehension app for students with High Functioning Autism: A synthesis of pedagogy, content, and technology

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Abstract

Computer-aided learning (CAL) is not new within contemporary education contexts and mobile digital technologies’ such as iPads and tablet computing are often commonplace in many mainstream and special education settings. Despite thousands of educational applications (Apps) currently available it is difficult for educators and parents to distinguish between Apps considered as educational and those that are not. This paper describes the process of design and development of an App for iPad and how research based strategies and pedagogical approaches typically applied in face-to-face teaching methods are embedded in this digital format. The aims of this project were to; a) synthesise research findings on reading comprehension difficulties for students with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) and identify the evidence-based strategies that underpin improvements; b) determine the features associated with the design of ‘quality’ educational Apps; c) evaluate similar educational Apps; d) embed evidence-based reading comprehension strategies and key features of quality educational software to create an reading comprehension App for students with HFASD. The findings highlight critical considerations for developers and educators in understanding pedagogical content and functionality of educational Apps. This paper formed part of a wider intervention study examining the acquisition of critical literacy skills, mobile digital technology, and students diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD).
Keywords: educational software, iPads, apps, reading comprehension, autism
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019

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Autistic Disorder
Reading
Teaching
Students
Technology
Software
Special Education
Research
Tablets
Parents
Learning
Education
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Keywords

  • educational software, iPads, apps, reading comprehension, autism

Cite this

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title = "Developing a reading comprehension app for students with High Functioning Autism: A synthesis of pedagogy, content, and technology",
abstract = "Computer-aided learning (CAL) is not new within contemporary education contexts and mobile digital technologies’ such as iPads and tablet computing are often commonplace in many mainstream and special education settings. Despite thousands of educational applications (Apps) currently available it is difficult for educators and parents to distinguish between Apps considered as educational and those that are not. This paper describes the process of design and development of an App for iPad and how research based strategies and pedagogical approaches typically applied in face-to-face teaching methods are embedded in this digital format. The aims of this project were to; a) synthesise research findings on reading comprehension difficulties for students with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) and identify the evidence-based strategies that underpin improvements; b) determine the features associated with the design of ‘quality’ educational Apps; c) evaluate similar educational Apps; d) embed evidence-based reading comprehension strategies and key features of quality educational software to create an reading comprehension App for students with HFASD. The findings highlight critical considerations for developers and educators in understanding pedagogical content and functionality of educational Apps. This paper formed part of a wider intervention study examining the acquisition of critical literacy skills, mobile digital technology, and students diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD). Keywords: educational software, iPads, apps, reading comprehension, autism",
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AB - Computer-aided learning (CAL) is not new within contemporary education contexts and mobile digital technologies’ such as iPads and tablet computing are often commonplace in many mainstream and special education settings. Despite thousands of educational applications (Apps) currently available it is difficult for educators and parents to distinguish between Apps considered as educational and those that are not. This paper describes the process of design and development of an App for iPad and how research based strategies and pedagogical approaches typically applied in face-to-face teaching methods are embedded in this digital format. The aims of this project were to; a) synthesise research findings on reading comprehension difficulties for students with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) and identify the evidence-based strategies that underpin improvements; b) determine the features associated with the design of ‘quality’ educational Apps; c) evaluate similar educational Apps; d) embed evidence-based reading comprehension strategies and key features of quality educational software to create an reading comprehension App for students with HFASD. The findings highlight critical considerations for developers and educators in understanding pedagogical content and functionality of educational Apps. This paper formed part of a wider intervention study examining the acquisition of critical literacy skills, mobile digital technology, and students diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD). Keywords: educational software, iPads, apps, reading comprehension, autism

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