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Integrating Technology

Technology can enhance an I-Search Unit in the following ways:

  1. It keeps students on track as they carry out the inquiry process.

    For example, use of the Search Organizer  software program helps students organize information as they proceed with their I-Search.

  2. It provides access to information in varied formats (important for Phase I and Phase III).

    For example in Phase I, a computer simulation allows students to participate in a life-like situation, make decisions, and see the impact of their decisions. Simulations present abstract concepts in concrete terms. Through participating in simulations, students enhance their understanding of concepts, begin to pose more meaningful questions, and express their ideas to classmates. The focused and spontaneous conversation that occurs during a simulation can support students who are highly verbal but who might have difficulties in other areas, such as writing.

  3. It helps students process information and construct meaning by recording, analyzing, manipulating, and organizing (important for Phase III).

    For example in Phase III, a database program is a tool that allows users to store information in an organized way and to retrieve information in response to queries. Using a database encourages higher-level thinking skills as students go beyond the facts to search for trends and relationships, make and test hypotheses, and explore the meaning of data. Database programs are helpful to students who need a tool to organize or categorize information. Database programs provide a concrete context for discussing relationships, hypotheses, and conclusions.

  4. It helps students represent, convey, and communicate what they have learned (important for Phase IV).

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Technology Can Support Students with Disabilities

In addition to the ways technology can enhance an I-Search Unit for students with learning disabilities, technology can also support students with sensory, physical, and cognitive disabilities through assistive technology and instructional technology.

The National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) is housed at EDC. The mission of this center is to gather, synthesize, disseminate, and support the utilization of knowledge about the use of technology for students with a range of mild to severe disabilities in grades K‹12.

photo of student using a computer This student is using the Search Organizer software on a laptop computer.

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