Purpose & Objectives

All students learn differently and at different rates. Regardless of individual differences, teachers need to ensure that all students have access to and are taught according to curriculum standards. Many students qualify for special services due to a diagnosed disability, but many other students are left on the fringe, not qualifying for these services. These students might have marginal signs of depression, bi-polar disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit disorder, or oppositional defiance. Although many students continue through school undiagnosed, they are at constant risk of failure and school drop-out. Part of knowing how to teach these students effectively is to be familiar with sources that provide information on characteristics and discuss effective teaching strategies. In addition, advances in Web 2.0 collaboration tools provide teachers with opportunities to differentiate instruction. Unfortunately locating informational resources and then creating activities with appropriate Web sites can be time-consuming. A necessary skill is to combine strategies for differentiating instruction with appropriate technology tools that can assist all students in accessing the curriculum; regardless of disorder, disability, impairment or diagnosis. After individual differences are considered, FREE web-based activities can easily be adapted to support the diverse learning needs of all students.

The participants will
(1) learn characteristics of and how to recognize students who are at-risk for academic or social failure;
(2) access a variety of free tools to support reading, math, and written language skills;
(3) engage in activities using Web 2.0 tools that support active collaboration and social networking;
(4) learn to integrate Web 2.0 tools to support student engagement and critical thinking; and
(5) use a Web 2.0 tool such as Trailfire or Del.icio.us to create a list of links specific for a class activity, student group, or school.

Presenter Background
Cheryl Wissick is a special educator with K-12 and university experience working to integrate technology into the curriculum and developing ways to promote effective web-based learning for students with disabilities and those who are at risk for academic failure. She teaches courses on technology integration for diverse learners and has published in refereed practitioner-oriented newsletters and journals. Dr. Wissick is on the board of both ISTE SETSIG and the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Kids on the Fringe: Technology Tools to Help Them Succeed Cheryl Wissick, University of South Carolina
NECC 2008 BYOL Conference Presentation