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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assistive Technology, Disability, and Access: Transforming Thinking and Practice Through Inquiry-Based Professional Development
by Hollins, Kara G., Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2017, 272; 10257418
Abstract (Summary)

Research has shown that technology as a tool has major implications for improving access to the general education curriculum for K-12 students with disabilities. Specifically, assistive technology can offer a means to access and participation for students with high-incidence or low-incidence disabilities. While research shows that assistive technology has a positive impact on students’ learning, meaningful integration and use of assistive technology by students with high-incidence disabilities in schools is not widespread. Lack of teacher preparation is cited as the most significant factor surrounding the limited use of assistive technology by students in schools. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to understand the experiences and learning of four K-5 public educators who participated in a year-long inquiry-based professional development experience focused on assistive technology. Using data from multiple sources (classroom observations, debriefing meetings, classroom documents, semi-structured interviews, and field notes from the professional development sessions), the study demonstrates that each teacher developed assistive technology competencies and explored aspects of accessible curricula as evidenced by their distinct inquiry projects and pedagogical decisions. Findings also suggest that participants’ decision-making focused on student learning, technological tool use with all students in their classroom, and literacy instruction. From these findings it was evident that dominant special education discourse regulated teachers’ initial conceptions of assistive technology. Yet, as participants developed their inquiry projects, taught, and used assistive technology with students, they each pushed against the boundaries of dominant discourses vis-à-vis their classroom-based decisions. Participants’ inquiry work has significant implications for designing pre-service and in-service professional development opportunities that facilitate accessible and multimodal approaches to student learning, and providing a more inclusive space for learners.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Oyler, Celia J.
Commitee: Naraian, Srikala, Perkins, Brian K., Siegel, Marjorie
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Curriculum and Teaching
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Special education, Teacher education
Keywords: Access, Assistive technology, Literacy, Professional development, Universal design
Publication Number: 10257418
ISBN: 978-1-369-79244-7
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