Technology usage in specific learning disabilities: A Systematic literature review

Doğan S., Delialioğlu Ö.

International Computer Instructional Technologies Symposium, İzmir, Turkey, 2 March - 04 May 2018

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İzmir
  • Country: Turkey
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The current study aims to identify the trends in the related literature on how technology is used for helping students with learning disabilities. Specifically, the study focus on how educational technologies affects students’ who have learning disabilities in regard to improve their performances in mathematics, reading and writing skills, and finally their attitudes toward technology usage. The current study will be the first step of a design based research study on developing technology-enhanced learning environments for supporting students with learning disabilities. As part of the analysis phase of the whole study, a systematic literature review will be performed by using related indexes and journals. While conducting the literature review, Academic Search Complete (ASC), Education Resource Information Center (ERIC) and Education Source indexes were searched. “Specific Learning Disabilities”, “Learning Disabilities”, “Learning Difficulties”, “Computer Assisted Instruction”, “Technology” and “Assistive Technology” keywords determined with the help of the current literature were used to find related articles published last ten years. These keywords were search in the abstracts and titles of the articles. Then, inclusion criteria which were (a) peer reviewed, (b) journal article, (c) English Turkish were applied. Consequence, 34 articles were reached after duplicated and irrelevant articles were eliminated. Results of the review showed that multiple baseline design (n=13) was the most preferred research method. Elementary students were most preferred target group for the studies. Moreover, individual and focus group interviews, observation, questionnaire and achievement tests were common data collection tools. Results also showed conducted studies aimed to improve one of the main skills related with reading, writing and math. In mathematics, studies specifically aimed to develop adding, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, problem solving skills. In addition, review results revealed that used technology affected students’ performances in a positive but non-significant way. Studies reported that students generally have positive attitude toward used technology because they provided students more visual support and practice chance. Although studies report some affirmative results, most of the studies highlighted some limitations which are having small sample size, non-generalizable results, using expensive technologies, having limited time to measure effectiveness of used technology and uneven distribution of participants according to gender and grade level. As a consequence of technology utilization in daily life, new educational technologies are integrated into educational settings very actively. Special education also keeps pace with these developments like normal education and tries to use appropriate technologies to meet various needs of the students with special needs. In the current study, students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), which is one of the common disability types in special education, is the main focus group. There are three main categories of learning disabilities;(1) dyslexia-impairment in reading, (2) dyscalculia-impairment in mathematics, and (3) dysgraphia-impairment in writing all over the world. However, there is no such specific categorization in Turkey. Students are diagnosed as having specific learning disabilities or not. The current study also aims to contribute the categorization effort of SLD in Turkey Technology use in special education is important because it provides the opportunity to design and develop flexible educational materials by considering the special needs of students who have different disabilities. Moreover, it supports individualized learning environments to promote students’ learning both in and out of the classroom. Although technology has been used in special education for a long time, it is also important to examine its possible effects on students with different disabilities.