Mobile Devices and Apps Use

In just one short decade, mobile technology has evolved and revolutionized the way students engage, interact, and learn. What has made this revolution both exciting is the exponential proliferation of apps. For students with learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), apps provide a unique opportunity to eliminate access barriers, because they are ubiquitous and prolific. Apps can be installed in seconds, be accessed any place and anytime, and offer immediate solutions for academic learning and coursework.

E-learning initiatives and app technologies are an important part of postsecondary education. Unfortunately, limited research is available on the effectiveness of apps for students with disabilities, due to the fact that they are still a new and emerging technology. Landmark College has been on the leading edge of technology research and innovation in the field of learning disabilities. Researchers from LCIRT, in particular, have been pioneering important research efforts to enhance educators’ understanding of new app technologies and to gauge students’ usage of academic apps at Landmark College.

At the 2013 International Dyslexia Association conference, Dr. Manju Banerjee and Dr. Sapna Prasad of LCIRT presented an app evaluation tool informed by the principles of Universal Design for Instruction. Dr. Banerjee and Dr. Prasad are now expanding their research to better understand which apps and mobile devices students with LD, ADHD, and ASD use for their coursework and academic learning, and the process by which students choose apps. They have created an Apps and Mobile Devices Survey and are collecting feedback from students at Landmark College who have firsthand experience using apps for their coursework.

This survey will help researchers identify the most user-friendly and effective features of apps designed for note-taking, reading and organization; and increase the understanding of the broader impacts that app technology can have on the academic progress of students with LD, ADHD, and ASD. Another opportune outcome of this research is an assessment of Landmark College students’ technology preferences as the College continues to march forward and explore the world of eLearning for those who learn differently.