Unlocking Potential: A Collaborative Roadmap to Technology Integration in Special Education
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 December 7th, Unlocking Potential: A Collaborative Roadmap to Technology Integration in Special Education, panelists from five institutions of CIDDL Tech Alliance gathered to discuss the progress of their TIP. The panelists consist of faculties at California State University, Chico, Indiana State University, University of Central Missouri, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of Maine, Orono. Each school discussed the overview of their institution and special education program, goals and rationale, and the 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, California State University at Chico aims to support lectures and adjunct faculty in incorporating AI and VR/AR into classes by identifying the needs and feasibility of professional development, determining existing resources, and assessing the best mode of professional development. Indiana State University seeks to address the need for technology integration in coursework and practical field experiences by developing a technology integration rubric for faculty syllabi self-assessments. The University of Central Missouri seeks to adapt to technological changes by assessing current tech knowledge, researching existing frameworks, designing and testing a new framework, selecting courses, and offering professional development for faculties. University of Hawaii at Manoa aims to enhance technology integration across programs by categorizing technology and integrating relevant and innovative tech strategies into additional courses. University of Maine, Orono plans to collaborate with teams to enhance the teacher preparation program by improving accessibility to resources for preservice teachers, expanding UDL knowledge, and creating a dedicated website.
Questions & Answers
During the Q&A session, panelists answered the guiding questions on how students’ feedback helped shape the technology integration effort. One of the panelists said that students expressed that they were not feeling prepared to teach. Faculty members tend to assume that young students know how to leverage technology, but sometimes this is not true, especially for those who have gone through the pandemic season during their school years. This led faculty members to plan to model the pedagogy so that pre-service teachers can have experiences engaging in technology-integrated classes as students before they can apply it in their classrooms as teachers. Another panelist mentioned that it is helpful to have teachers play with technology, such as AI tools, and discuss how they might use it in their classrooms. To the question of how they see technology in special education and the most intriguing part, one panelist answered that providing accessibility otherwise might not be there is exciting. Using AI tools for learning disabilities, such as drafting email, is one of the examples.
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. The next webinar will be in late January.