Unlocking Potential: A Collaborative Roadmap to Technology Integration in Special Education Part 2
In October 2023, the first cohort of the CIDDL Tech Alliance met to design a Technology Integration Plan (TIP) to integrate and leverage technology further into their teacher preparation programs. In the webinar on January 31st, Unlocking Potential: A Collaborative Roadmap to Technology Integration in Special Education Part 2, panelists from five institutions of CIDDL Tech Alliance gathered to discuss the progress of their TIP. The panelists are faculty members at the University of Idaho, Alabama A&M University, University of Southern Mississippi, and Georgia Southern University. Each school discussed the overview of their institution and special education program, goals and rationale, and their action plan.
Goals, Rationales, and Action Plans
These universities have diverse backgrounds, from urban to rural, with various sizes of schools and departments. According to their backgrounds and needs based on surveys, each school had different goals, rationales, and action plans. For example, the University of Idaho tries integrating technology (AT and IT, focusing on AI) across special education coursework. This is due to a need for digital innovation and learning AI. To achieve this goal, they conduct monthly program sessions and department meetings to address their goals. Alabama A&M University is developing a student alliance group to help facilitate reaching goals on incorporating additional technology into classrooms/labs, especially on AAC. The University of Southern Mississippi set its goal to analyze and improve its teacher education program’s use of technology via syllabi, course assignments, and implementation of standards using data from the CIDDL Needs Assessment and internal data sets. For this goal, they redesigned all SPED/ELE syllabi to include current ISTE standards and continuously shared CIDDL resources and tools in many channels. Georgia Southern University aims to provide a monthly newsletter highlighting Al and instructional technologies for undergraduate and graduate courses, provide enhanced instruction on assistive and innovative technologies, and collaborate with faculty to integrate current technology applications across graduate and undergraduate pre-service teacher preparation programs.
Questions & Answers
In the webinar's Q&A session, participants shared experiences about tools they integrated into their coursework. Humata, a tool that simplifies the understanding of complex research articles for students, proves beneficial in both undergraduate and graduate courses. Next, one of the panelists emphasized the critical role of funding in enabling faculty to experiment with new technologies and purchase long-term helpful equipment, which is vital due to the rapid changes in special education technology. Participants collectively noted the rewarding experience of being part of the tech alliance, which broadened their understanding of integrating technologies like AI and AAC into educational programs. The emphasis on re-examining teaching practices and the value of collaboration and learning from different institutions were also key takeaways, showcasing diverse perspectives and practices in technology integration in education.
What’s Next For The Tech Alliance?
Tech Alliance members will continuously communicate with the team for support. Also, they will go through iterative development by implementing their action plans, monitoring, and evaluation. Sustainability will be the key to further development and documenting and reporting the process and result of this journey. We have an active CIDDL Community where tech alliance members communicate, share ideas, and discuss their experiences.