Exploring the Use of Active Electronic Support Tools by Students with Learning Disabilities


  • Lindy Crawford
  • Kristina N. Higgins
  • Barbara Freeman


Computer-based instruction (CBI) programs have been implemented in classrooms for almost three decades. One advantage of CBI includes allowing the user to tailor instruction to their particular style of learning (Slavin & Lake, 2009). An essential part of individualizing CBI involves the students use of active electronic support tools, which may promote mathematical metacognition in the process of understanding mathematical concepts. This study included 19 sixth grade students who attended a school for students with learning disabilities and analyzes their use of active electronic support tools (e.g. hyperlinks, calculator) during their engagement in CBI. Specifically, students completed grade-level lessons in the Math Learning Companion (Freeman, 2010), an online supplemental mathematics curriculum developed for students in the later elementary and early secondary grades. The relationships between students use of active electronic support tools, gains between the pre and posttest, and achievement as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson Broad Math score and the Wechsler IQ scales were explored. A cross-case analysis was conducted on four students to provide insight into how they tailored the program to meet their individual needs. Findings indicate that students are using the active electronic support tools to individualize the program with the intent of maximizing their understanding of mathematical concepts.