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Effects of Technology on Gifted Education

Nicholas Perillo
DIFF-511
Mrs. Martin
7 December 2014

Abstract

This literature review aims to explore the progress of technology


use in gifted education and highlight the best practices and empirical
research in this area. The use of technology in classrooms today is
growing rapidly. There is such an abundance of different technology
devices that can be used in the classroom. Gifted individuals are
defined by the National Association For Gifted Children (NAGC) as those
who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one
or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with
its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set
of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports). Technology offers
great potential to gifted, talented and creative students. There is an
abundance of research on the effects of technology and gifted and
talented education. A close examination of technology literacy goals
reveals an interesting parallelism with the goals of gifted education.

Technology and Gifted and Talented Education


Introduction
One of the biggest struggles for teachers today is being able to
properly differentiate instruction in their classrooms. The main focus is
usually on those who are on or below level in the given subject area.
This leaves out the gifted and talented students. Gifted children are
those identified by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high
performance. The National Association for Gifted children identifies
them as those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or
competence in one or more domains. Domains include any structured
area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music,
language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance,
sports). Gifted and talented student often get bored and fall through
the cracks of school because they already know the material they are
being taught. The use of technology is one way to keep gifted and
talented students engaged and successful in your classroom.
Technology not only allows teacher to provide differentiated instruction
for gifted students, but it also serves as an educational and creative
outlet for some of the best and brightest minds in the world
(Periathiruvadi & Rinn 2012).

Students who identify as gifted and talented need to be


challenge as well as motivated and engage in school in order to
succeed. Technology can help do that. In this modern era, it is crucial
that we have high-ability minds engaged in our most complex
technological advancements yet. Students of this generation have
grown up with mobile phone, computers and MP3 players (Sheffield,
2007), and it is very important that their education keeps up with their
interests and advancements in technology. As stated earlier, interest
and motivation are huge when it comes to meeting the needs of gifted
and talented students.

Attitudes toward technology


Gifted students enjoy the use of technology in many ways. With
this being said, gifted students should have a developmentally
appropriate understanding of their needs and how their beliefs
influence their learning behavior (NAGC, 2010). When a survey was
done on the attitudes of gifted high school students toward technology
usage, the majority of the participants reported that using technology
was very relevant to their learning than those in higher grades
(Kahveci, 2010). Student in lower grades were more satisfied with the
use of technology for learning than those in higher grades. As far as
male/female goes, males were more confident with using technology in
the classroom. According to Del Siegle, gifted and talented students

enjoy learning through exploration and experimentation. Technology


enables them to hypothesize and try and find solutions to the problems
they are investigating. It also allows the freedom to investigate
different paths for multiple solutions. Technology also increases the
sophistication of products that gifted and talented students can create
by allowing them to function in roles similar to practicing professionals
(Siegle, 2004).
Technology and Gifted Education link
Students who can be identified as technologically literate exhibit
six competencies. The first is to demonstrate a sound conceptual
understanding of the nature of technology systems and view
themselves as proficient users of these systems. The second is to
understand and model positive ethical use of technology in both social
and personal contexts. The third is to use a variety of technology tools
in effective ways to increase creative productivity. The fourth is to use
communication tools to reach out to the world beyond the classroom
and communicate ideas in powerful ways. The fifth is to use
technology effectively to access, evaluate, process, and synthesize
information from a variety of sources. The sixth and final is to use
technology to identify and solve complex problems in real world
contexts. Seeing these six competencies one can see that these
competencies reveal the overlap with major goals of gifted education.
Two common learning characteristics of gifted students work well here:

the ability to transfer learning from one situation to another and an


understanding of complicated material through analytical reasoning
ability (Renzulli et al., 1997). Student-created multimedia projects
afford gifted and talented students an opportunity to explore their
interests in depth while polishing a variety of technology skills
necessary for literacy in the 21st century.

SMART Board
Technology is a very broad term. Something like a computer or
IPad or even MP3 player counts as technology. One specific technology
device that is very beneficial to gifted and talented students is the
SMART Board. Smartboard can also be highly beneficial to the gifted
students. Students in gifted education are often found bored of
material because they are not being challenged or they already know
the material. The good thing about Smartboards is that one can play
many enrichment games and other things on them to stay engaged
and ahead. Researchers concluded that Smartboards can make
identifiable contributions to childrens productive communication and
thinking, while also providing both a tool and environment that
encourages co-constructed knowledge building. Smartboard can be an
effective means of augmenting typical teaching strategies to make
learning more motivational and meaningful for todays technologically
advanced students (Giles & Shaw, 2011). Another very helpful device

would be a tablet or iPad. Due to the ability for both to download apps
and games that help enrich curriculum, they both fit as very beneficial
for students who are gifted and talented.

Computer instruction
Dixon (2005) examined whether using computer tools helped to
improve gifted adolescents critical thinking skills and quality of
writing. The study compared the critical thinking abilities of gifted
students in two ways. The first was a handwritten essay and the
second was computer typed essay. The computer typed essay was
more effective for gifted and talented boys, as they show 83% increase
in the number of words in their computer typed essays. Gifted girls
scored similar then the boys on the computer essays. Using laptops
facilitated project-based learning and resulted in an increase in student
initiative. None of the gifted or talented learners reported the laptop to
be hindering their success.

Technological assessments
With the constant growth of technology in the classroom, even
tests are being put on line. There are three types of assessments that
have a huge impact of gifted and talented students. They are as

follows, assessments for identifying gifts and talents, ongoing


assessments of student learning, and assessments that evaluate a
gifted program to help meet the needs and strengths of gifted students
(NAGC, 2010). Computer based assessments can be a great
alternative to self-reports. In one study, the gifted students showed
more sophistication in their strategic approach to playing the game
and relied on high-level strategies even when lower strategies were
equally effective.
Self Regulation
In another study, Calero, Garcia-Martin, Jimenez, Kazen,
and Araque (2007) studied self-regulation efficiency of gifted students
using
a computer-based task, Self-Regulation and Concentration Test (SRTC).
The game analyzed how students resisted distractions and temptations
on the computer screen to stay focused on the task at hand. The
elementary aged gifted students showed blockage of the distractions,
larger memory capacity, and more self-motivation while working.
Online assessments were also proven successful on high school
students as well.

What can teachers do?


There is so much that teachers can do in order to help gifted
students succeed in the classroom. Some of the best things educators

can do to help gifted students with technology. Let students use the
Internet for research and give them choice projects. One of the
biggest things that promotes motivation is student choice. If students
are given the choice of how to use certain types of technology they will
be much more motivated and engaged. Another tip is to let students
work on long term projects. Use apps and websites to accelerate the
curriculum content. Allow students to go ahead in learning so they are
not getting bored. Giving student choice is a major factor when it
comes to gifted education (Davidson, 2004). By integrating technology
into a gifted students curriculum, that students will have the
opportunity to be active participants in their own learning, work at
their own pace and ability level, create original and innovative
products, research independently, explore topics at a greater depth
and breadth, and think critically in real-world situations (Nugent,
2001).
Conclusion
The use of technology is highly beneficial in gifted education.
The possibilities for enrichment are almost endless as far as
technology devices go for gifted and talented students. The future of
technological integration in the gifted classroom depends largely on
teacher applications and training, as well as funding for both the
acquisition and maintenance of such innovations. In light of the
characteristics of gifted learners, technology can be an essential tool in

providing educational programming to address the specialized needs of


gifted learners (Nugent, 2001).

Resources
Calero, M. D., Garcia-Martin, M. B., Jimenez, M. I., Kazen, M., & Araque,
A. (2007). Self- regulation advantage for high-IQ children:
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Dixon, F., Cassady, J., Cross, T., & Williams, D. (2005). Effects of
technology on critical thinking and essay writing among gifted
adolescents. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 16, 180189.
Giles, R.M., & Shaw, E.L. (2011) The Theory of Multiple Intelligence.
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