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Interfaces and computer learning for students with disabilities

There are quite a few educational contexts in which unique issues can come up for a special needs student. Among these is computer learning.

This is a particularly relevant point these days, given the larger and larger role digital learning is coming to play in education here in America. Given this, how unique issues regarding such learning are dealt with in the special education plans for a special needs student, such as an IEP, can be remarkably impactful. Skilled lawyers can help parents here in California fight for their child’s best interests when it comes to impactful special education issues, like terms on digital learning in an IEP.

One question that can come up when it comes to digital learning for special needs students is: What kind of interface for using an educational computer program would work best for the student? A set of studies connected to the thesis of a French computer scientist looked into whether natural user interfaces have benefits for such students.

Natural user interfaces involve controlling a computer program through body movement. In contrast, more traditional interfaces use devices like mice or keyboards for control.

The studies involved using digital learning programs that used two types of natural user interfaces at a handful of schools in Europe. According to the thesis, the studies indicate that the motivation and involvement of special needs students when it comes to digital learning programs, generally, go up when they use natural user interfaces. The thesis also mentioned, however, that the studies did not yet prove that these interfaces do up the support for learning for such students.

So, there are still a lot of questions out there about the effects of interface on how digital learning goes for special needs students. So, what future research is done on this topic could be worth watching.

Source:, “Motivation of students in special education improves if they use gestures with computers,” Jan. 18, 2017

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