Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Select one of the current trends presented in Chapter 14 or one of the current issues presented in Discussion Board 3 - Tutorie

Select one of the current trends presented in Chapter 14 or one of the current issues presented in Discussion Board 3

Action Items Directions

1. Select one of the current trends presented in Chapter 14 or one of the current issues presented in Discussion Board 3

2. Conduct research on this topic and identify 3-5 peer reviewed research articles published within the last ten years.

3. In a 4- 5 page paper, summarize the current research on this issue or trend presented in the articles you have read. The goal is to provide a concise and informative summary that demonstrates your understanding of the current state of knowledge in the chosen area.

4. Organize your literature review based on themes, subtopics, or commonalities found in the sources.

5. Offer final thoughts on the significance and potential impact of the current issue or trend in special education.

Chapter 14 below


When the United States Congress passed The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) in 1975, advancements in technology were just beginning to impact the home and workplace. The technology currently available in cellular phones far exceeds the capacity of the first-generation desktop and personal computers that were just becoming available in schools in 1975. As technology has become more commonplace in our homes, communities, and workplaces it has also become integrated into the instructional and organizational aspects of daily work of special education. Teachers who began their careers in the late 1970s and early 1980s recall the laborious process of writing IEPs by hand. At that same time, the most common technology tool for writing special education evaluations was the electric typewriter. Districts and states now are utilizing a variety of technology systems to collect, create, store, and analyze information related to the provision of special education students (Edyburn, 2013; Riggleman & Buchter, 2017).

While the use of technology in most situations improves the efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility of various work tasks, technology utilization is not without complications. Special education leaders need to understand the specifications of existing district and state technology systems and ensure that any special education systems and programs they adopt for their program specific use, aligns with existing systems. For example, when adopting a web-based progress monitoring system, it is important to ensure that the district’s technology system has the necessary specifications for the program to operate smoothly and that staff have the required hardware and software to utilize the program. Additional considerations regarding the adoption of a technology-based program include the ability to merge student data with other district information systems and to protect the confidentiality of student data. Providing staff with the necessary training to effectively utilize the selected programs and the corresponding updates should also be included in the plan to implement technology programs (Meyen, 2015; Musti-Rao, 2017; Riggleman & Buchter, 2017).

Advances in technology also significantly impact the design and delivery of instruction to students, including the use of assistive technology for students with disabilities. The 2017 National Technology Plan Update (US Department of Education) states that “technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning. It can help affirm and advance relationships between educators and students, reinvent our approaches to learning and collaboration, shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps, and adapt learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.” Practices such as Personalized Learning, where using technology to provide instructional approaches that are “optimized for the needs of each learner,” Blended Learning, where students are provided their instruction and opportunities to complete learning tasks in a planned system that augments online learning with face-to-face instructional time with the teacher, and Project Based Learning with utilizes a variety of technology tools and platforms to provide instruction to students in the “context of authentic problems,” allow students and staff to take advantage of the learning opportunities made available through technology (US Department of Education, 2017).

In addition to the use of technology as an instructional tool, districts are also required under IDEA to consider the use of technology as an assistive device for students with disabilities. An assistive technology device is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability” (Etscheidt, 2017). In a recent analysis of legal findings related to the use of assistive technology in schools, Etscheidt (2017) identified five themes of disputes surrounding the use of assistive technology. This analysis of 42 cases occurring between 2001 and 2015 identified the following concerns related to districts’ a) failure to consider students’ individual needs for assistive technology, b) failing to provide sufficient and timely assistive technology assessments, c) failure to select assistive technology devices that allow students to benefit from their educational program, d) failure to provide sufficient training for staff and students which supports full implementation of the devices, and e) failure to utilize assistive technology devices for the purpose of allowing the students to successfully access instruction in general education classrooms.

Another factor affecting the selection and use of assistive technology is the reality that innovative technologies become available and are brought to the attention of parents and staff before there is time to establish any research evidence regarding their effectiveness (Edyburn, 2013). In response to the need for districts to implement a set of effective practices related to the selection, implementation, and evaluation of various assistive technology devices, it is strongly encouraged that special education leaders utilize the Quality Indicators of Assistive Technology (Bowser, et al., 2016). These indicators provide districts with a prescribed set of research-validated practices and tools for developing and implementing a systematic approach which successfully addresses the complex issues surrounding the selection and use of assistive technology (Bowser, et al., 2016).

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