Information Technology and the Literacy Needs of Special Populations

Ode to FedEx and Dairy Farmers

Authored by: Edward J. Kame’enui , Joshua U. Wallin

International Handbook of Literacy and Technology

Print publication date:  April  2006
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780805850871
eBook ISBN: 9780203929131
Adobe ISBN: 9781135609580


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As we prepare this chapter for the Handbook of Literacy and Technology, the future in the form of 2004 looms imminently and transparently on the horizon, waiting for the arrow of time to issue its inevitable invitation. Handbooks are charged with at least two taxing and unenviable burdens: (a) to offer a succinct but trenchant narrative of the past and (b) to extract viable trends from the current research literature and offer reasonable predictions of what the future portends. When the topics of literacy and technology are invoked and special populations—children identified with disabilities—are added to the mix of topics, the challenge of capturing the past and predicting the future appears whimsical, if not reckless. Nevertheless, the challenge is a worthy one, and we are pleased to offer our brief assessment of how technology might best be considered and employed to benefit children identified with unique literacy needs. We initiate this challenge by first offering two examples that have nothing to do with literacy (which is why they were selected), but are illustrative of the compelling, yet ubiquitous nature of information technology in a global economy. We use these examples to underscore the potential applications of information technology to literacy, in general, and to special populations, in particular, that have distinctive literacy and reading needs.

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