two people meeting with laptops taking notes on mission statement

Why CIDDL? A Glimpse of Our Mission

Author: The CIDDL Team

The Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) team brings together known leaders in the areas of special education, early intervention, related services, educational technology, personnel and leadership preparation, innovation, technical assistance, and distance learning to advance the knowledge and use of educational technology that supports improved results for children with disabilities. The team aims to support (a) increased knowledge, adoption, and use of a range of educational technologies that can be used for educator, related service, or leadership preparation programs; (b) increased capacity of faculty at institutions of higher education (IHE) to use a range of educational technologies in educator, related service, or leadership preparation programs; and (c) sustaining professional learning networks related to educational technology in educator, related service, or leadership preparation programs.

An Ecological Approach

CIDDL follows an ecological approach to mobilize faculty in IHEs, as critical stakeholders, that utilize technology thoughtfully to model and teach their students to use technology to assist students with disabilities (SWDs) and students in early intervention and early childhood education (EI/ECSE). This approach will address broader institutional barriers, faculty development, and resulting training of educators and leaders. As the theoretical foundation for CIDDL, this approach will be used to construct an ecosystem of knowledge, people, and technology that purposefully and dynamically engage with each other.

The CIDDL ecosystem will empower fluid interactions among critical stakeholders and result in scaled, sustainable changes in IHE educator, related service, or leadership preparation programs specific to their use of educational technologies. Specifically, CIDDL will serve as (a) a center of knowledge, with a critically reviewed understanding of how faculty use of technology translates into the improved practices that directly support SWDs and EI/ECSE, (b) a digital platform with a variety of opportunities for IHE faculty to interact with each other and accumulate knowledge, and (c) a national, collaborative community (scaled, facilitated professional learning network) with IHE faculty, educational technology researchers, EI/ECSE and K-12 teachers and related service providers, and leadership scholars.

Our Overarching Goal

The overarching goal of CIDDL is to influence change that supports the use of educational technology in all EI/ECSE and K-12 learning environments, including distance education to improve outcomes for all students, especially those with disabilities, by improving the quality and use of educational technology in IHE educator, related service, or leadership preparation programs. We propose improvements in supporting IHE faculty in special education, EI/ECSE, related services, and leadership preparation programs through a dynamic system and ecological approach in supporting sustainable change. CIDDL will utilize a combination of field leadership in special education, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), educational technology and innovation, along with cutting edge online professional learning to support immediate, short-term, and in-depth IHE faculty outcomes. Our center will provide technical assistance that uses engagement structures grounded in UDL, implementation science, adult learning, network learning theory, and gamification to grow and support collaborative communities (deep and sustainable professional learning networks) across the continuum of faculty interest and need.

Learning Designed and Standards Database: Tools for Collaboration

The collaborative digital platform for CIDDL will be Learning Designed, a CAST and UDL research-based tool to support design, collaboration, and innovation for digital learning. Learning Designed is used throughout the United States to support K-12 and IHE pre-service and in-service personnel development by providing applied resources, professional learning tools to manage and deploy online courses, modules, and collaborative professional learning experiences.

 Finally, to ameliorate barriers to IHE faculty integration of innovations in digital technology, CIDDL will embed an already existing database to support a standards-aligned technology resource library. The library will provide quality assured instructional modules, tools, assignments, and competency-based micro-credentials that can be integrated into existing college courses. In turn, IHE faculty will be able to immediately learn, adopt tools, change their practice, and contribute to the growing professional learning networks (PLNs) within CIDDL’s collaborative community and innovation hub in Learning Designed.

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