CIDDL Research and Practice Briefs is a series of brief reports on research and practice regarding the innovative use of technology in special education, early childhood, related services personnel preparation and leadership personnel preparation programs as well as K-12 educational settings. For each brief, experts or practitioners in the field will be invited to discuss their research and practice on innovative use of technology. In addition, experts and practitioners will share their insights into opportunities and challenges about transferring and applying research and practice into teacher or leadership preparation programs. This series aims to spark conversations and provides an avenue for enhancing professional networking among experts and emergent scholars in the field.

In this brief , CIDDL shares insights from Dr. Jen Newton on the role social media, specifically a subset of Instagram known as “Teacher-gram”, plays in her teacher preparation program. Teacher preparation programs have a responsibility to prepare preservice teachers to recognize and address ableism and inequities so that every student can have a full range of opportunities.  Dr. Newton offers suggestions on how to integrate social media into assigned coursework and provides resources for teacher educators who wish to bring the voices of persons with disabilities into their own classrooms.

A headshot of Dr. Dave Edyburn

In this brief, Dr. Dave Edyburn discusses the history of AT and UDL, especially the challenges facing the field of special education around their implementation. Despite these challenges, Dr. Edyburn provides insight into strategies to improve educational outcomes for students, especially by approaching teaching as a research and development activity. Edyburn suggests some of the ways we might better prepare preservice teachers to take advantage of technologies that may not have existed when they themselves were students.

A headshot of Dr. Eric Moore

In this brief, Dr. Eric Moore considers the barriers to developing and maintaining UDL practice for preservice educators. He discusses the impact that generational teaching has for both faculty and preservice teachers, recognizing that educators fall into patterns of teaching how they were taught. Dr. Moore shares strategies for unlearning and creating a “seismic shift” by providing experiences for preservice educators that pair explicit modeling of UDL processes with reflection.

An Image of Dr. Michael Kennedy

In this brief, Dr. Michael Kennedy discusses the potential of multimedia instruction for mixing visual and auditory inputs to improve learning. The Content Acquisition Podcasts (CAPs) do just that: they take well-known, evidenced-based practices and describe them through a podcast and video modeling with the aim of supporting preservice educators. Dr. Kennedy goes on to describe how CAPs can be combined with data-driven feedback to promote ongoing professional development. Finally, Dr. Kennedy explains how CAPs can serve to support students in STEM classrooms.

An image of Dr. Kavita Rao

In this brief, Dr. Kavita Rao discusses the power behind intentionally applying the UDL framework when designing educational experiences for all learners. The process starts by considering the goals of a lesson, identifying barriers, then considering how UDL can help provide supports to meet learner variability. Dr. Rao goes on to discuss how this design cycle can be applied to evidence-based practices as well as for populations of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Finally, Dr. Rao discusses the intersection between UDL and online learning as well as how to use technology to support rural and remote teacher education.

An image of David Marcovitz

In this brief, Dr. David Marcovitz introduces the Educational Technology Social Justice Matrix, a preliminary model he created to help frame discourses regarding research, development, and application of educational technology through the lens of social activism and anti-racism. Dr. Marcovitz discusses the rationale behind the development of the Matrix and reviews emergent research that intersects educational technology and social justice. Finally, Dr. Marcovitz provides implications for future research on technology integration into teacher education programs.

Headshot of Cynthia Curry

In this brief, Cynthia Curry discusses the meaning behind accessibility and how it can be the gateway into the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. Cynthia explains the difference between accessibility and availability as well as offers guidance on what elements to look for when determining if an educational material is accessible. Finally, she discusses resources to help support a system’s level approach to the provision and distribution of accessible educational materials, including areas for future research.

An image of Dr. Loui Lord Nelson

The guest expert of this CIDDL Research and Practice Brief is Dr. Loui Lord Nelson. Dr. Nelson is an author, UDL consultant, and host of the popular podcast “UDL in 15 Minutes.” In this brief, Dr. Nelson discusses how UDL as an educational framework helps ensure every learner, including students with and without disabilities, can gain access to the curriculum. Dr. Nelson also discusses the important role of technology as a tool that can provide students alternative means for accessing, engaging with, and expressing their understanding of the curriculum.

An Image of Dr. Lorna Quandt

The guest expert of this CIDDL Research and Practice Brief is Dr. Lorna Quandt, who is an Assistant Professor in the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program at Gallaudet University, a flagship institution for deaf education. Dr. Quandt is the science director of the Motion Light Lab and the director of the Action & Brain Lab, which investigates the neural substrates of action as applied to visual language and visual learning. In this brief, Dr. Quandt discusses her research and practices about developing and utilizing emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), to create new ways of teaching and learning sign languages.

Headshot of Dr. Richard Allen Carter

The guest expert of this CIDDL Research and Practice Brief is Dr. Richard Allen Carter, Jr., an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming (UW). Dr. Carter researches the education of students with disabilities in modern learning environments and the design of personalized professional learning. In this brief, Dr. Carter discusses his research and practices about micro-credentials as well as how he has utilized the innovation in special education teacher preparation programs at UW.