Integrating Technology into Special Education Essay

Pages: 11 (3426 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Shulman stated information of a content or subject area void of pedagogical skill would not help in developing good teachers. Koehler and Mishra expounded upon this statement by explaining and adding the technological component and making the technological component, the main component. "This necessitates that the teacher looks further than technical aspects and considers the importance of the interplay of technology knowledge, pedagogical knowledge" (Ma, Yuen, Park, Lau, & Deng, 2015, p. 220). Furthermore, "Quality teaching requires developing nuanced understanding of complex relationships between technology, content, and pedagogy, and using this understanding to develop appropriate context specific strategies and representations" (Ma, Yuen, Park, Lau, & Deng, 2015, p. 220). By importance and significance on the technological aspect, there's an increased need in developing the skills required to make technology integration feasible for teachers, especially special education teachers.

Definition of Terms

• ICT or Information and community technology: An expansive phrased that explains the merging of networking, telecommunications technologies, and information into a single technology. Many researchers find ICT proficiency low among technology-poor countries and note organizational culture influences how technology proficiency and integration (Tong, Tak, & Wong, 2015).

• Integration of Technology: "Level 0 is non-use, Level 1 as awareness, Level 2 as exploration, Level 3 as infusion, Level 4A as mechanical integration, Level 4B as routine integration, Level 5 as expansion, and level 6 as refinement" (Beycioglu, 2013, p. 181).

• Teachers' Technology Proficiency: "Levels 0-2 = indications of low comfort/skill, Levels 3-5 = indications of moderate comfort/skill, and Levels 6-7 = indications of high comfort/skill" (Beycioglu, 2013, p. 181).

Assumptions

1. Several assumptions were made for purpose of this qualitative case study

2. Findings from the qualitative study will provide clarity on what may cause lack of technology integration for special education teachers.

3. Lack of training leads to perceived barriers as it relates to technology integration.

4. Negative beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes on technology affect technology integration for special education teachers.

5. Study findings may lead to improvement in strategies adopted to increase technology integration among special education teachers.

6. Participants in the qualitative case study may either support technology integration or go against technology integration.

7. The current body of research will provide supplementary information to guide the process of evaluation.

Limitations

Several limitations exist within this qualitative case study. The first is researcher bias and its potential influence on examination and interpretation of study findings. To reduce such a limitation, no interference was given when asking questions to participants. Participants were given objective questions free from personal bias that were then answered with no cues or interjections. The second limitation was the limited range of potential participants. Only special education teachers in public elementary schools were selected. This removes the potential for variety in the sample and produces a narrowed view on the issue. Furthering this limitation is excluding other school districts from participating.

Scope and Delimitations

The scope of this qualitative case study was delimited to qualitative data collection methods that comprised of participant interviews, research, and the area selected. This led to a small sample size compared to similar studies conducted in schools containing greater age ranges for students and more school districts. Generalization could happen in qualitative studies and research, however, this was not the goal for this study.

Significance of Study

Findings from the study supported some theories and assumptions made by researchers in the field of special education and technology integration, specifically in an elementary school setting. "The first-order barrier is external, such as lack of adequate access, time, training and institutional support. The second-order barrier includes teachers' personal and fundamental beliefs such as teachers' pedagogical beliefs, technology beliefs, willingness to change" (Tsai & Chai, 2012, p. 1). Because of the growing need for transition from partial technology integration to full technology integration not just in regular education, but also special education, this study contributes greatly. Special education teachers must understand the value of integrating technology into daily instruction. "It is commonly believed that learning is enhanced through the use of technology and that students need to develop technology skills in order to be productive members of society" (Davies & West, 2013, p. 841). By shining light on the opinions of special education teachers and technology integration, there may be a better understanding of what is required for successful transition and application.

Many special education teachers note problems integrating new practices into their job duties. Some sight challenges due to the variety of students they must handle any given day. These students are often disabled and require additional assistance and attention. Unlike in regular education, special education may require additional practices that are both draining and tedious for special education teachers. In order for special education teachers to see technology integration as positive, they must see its ability to make their jobs easier.

An important thing to note is the use of new technologies in recent times such as social media and virtual schools. Virtual schools may be an option for special needs students wishing to learn but are unable to go to school on a regular basis. Special education teachers would have to learn to use technology via virtual schools and still maintain effective instruction. Customization of curriculum seems helpful in theory to special education students, but may be difficult to execute.

This study may lend to the already mentioned need to train special education teachers more and enable continual growth. Technology needs change each year. Ten years ago teachers only needed to learn how to use a computer. Now teachers must learn how to use tablets, teach from online, and communicate electronically. As the years pass, further technological innovations will lead to a need for additional training.

Implications for Social Change

Technology influences almost every facet of society, careers, and most importantly education. The implications for social change consist of understanding and recognizing information that schools and organizations can utilize to assist in generating a development plan geared towards technology integration for special education teachers and teachers in general. The basis for this proposal for transformation was built on in-depth observations of the perceptions as well as teaching practices of K-5 special education teachers in the Miami-Dade school district in the use of technology for Learning and instruction. Research-based approaches/strategies were discovered for the promotion of positive teacher perceptions of technology integration.

Training is an important part of successful technology integration. Without appropriate training, special education teachers are left without the skills for successful implementation of technology in their daily instruction. By presenting evidence of the attitudes and beliefs of special education teachers, Miami-Dade County's public elementary schools and through extension other public elementary schools will see the need for change in regards to how technology integration is implemented. Modernization, globalization is a key feature of today's evolving society. Technology brings both modernization and globalization into schools by giving access to both teachers and students on ways to grow and learn from using the internet and communicating and recording information through electronic devices (Kim, Kim, Lee, Spector, & Demeester, 2013).

Technology integration can also allow the seamless inclusion of special education into regular education. As schools move towards promoting inclusion and allowing special education students to feel and be part of the rest of the school, technology integration will make this transition faster and easier. It will also help give options to students that did not have options before. Homeschooling, distance learning, these may be allowed earlier on for students that truly need to stay at home. There are a multitude of different ways for technology to change the way schools see teaching and learning. More research, more studies will help illuminate the way to an integrated and inclusive society and education system.

Summary and Transition

Special education teachers have a difficult time integrating technology into their daily instruction. Some of it is attributed to attitudes and perceptions which may come from lack of training. This section provided an introduction, and introduction to the study, and highlighted the problem statement, nature of the study, operational definitions, as well as the significance of the study. Successful technology integration requires supporting special education teachers not just in changing their perceptions, but also giving them the tools necessary for successful implementation. Evaluations like these promote continual development of special education teachers so they can handle the difficulties associated with transitions.

Research and literature provide the basis from which these changes can take place. Schools must make decisions based on best practices so training opportunities for special education teachers are not squandered. If public schools' successful technology integration, especially in special education, there may be a higher likelihood of improved inclusion between regular education and special education students. Teachers will also be able to instruct students with tools that provide custom-made curriculum.

Technology is the best way to help teachers adopt new ways of teaching and enable new ways of learning for students (Chiu, 2016).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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