University of North Carolina Wilmington


Watson School of Education


SED 557

Technology Applications in Special Education



Instructor:                  Dr. Linda Mechling                               Office: King Ed.  102-B

Email:                  Phone: 962-7736 (O)


Meeting Dates:           Tuesday 5:00-7:45 KI 202


Office Hours:             M:1:00-5:00;  T: 2:00-5:00; W: 2:00-5:00       


Course Description:

This course is designed to provide teachers of children with disabilities the skills to integrate technology, including assistive devices, into classroom instruction.  The technology examined will focus on devices used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of students with disabilities.


Conceptual Framework:

The Watson School of Education strives to implement quality teacher education programs which emphasize the learner as decision-maker and reflective practitioner.  SED 557, Technology Applications in Special Education, is supported by this framework.  Students will reflect on their experiences as well as consult current research and best practices as they develop and write plans for integrating assistive technology into their classrooms.  Decision-making is emphasized as students select assistive technology interventions that support students.



The purpose of this course is to develop skills in the selection and use of technology to enhance instructional effectiveness, inclusion, communication, mobility, and environmental control for persons who have disabilities.  Specialized hardware focusing on a variety of adaptive and assistive devices, special education instructional software, and issues related to each area will be emphasized. 

Texts and Readings


Bryant, D. P. & Bryant, B. R. (2003).  Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities.  Boston,

             MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Journal Articles:

Langone, J., Shade, J., Clees, T. J., & Day, T. (1999).  Effects of multimedia instruction on

teaching functional discrimination skills to students with moderate/severe intellectual

disabilities. International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education, 46, 493-



Montgomery, D. J., Karlan, G. R., & Coutinho, M. (2001).  The effectiveness of word processor

spell checker programs to produce target words for misspellings generated by students

with learning disabilities.  Journal of Special Education, 16, 27-42.


Stanford, P., & Siders, J. A. (2001).  E-pal writing.  Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(2),  21-



Wissick, C. A., Gardner, J. E., & Langone, J. (1999).  Video-based simulations:  Considerations

for teaching students with developmental disabilities.  Career Development for

Exceptional Individuals, 22, 233-249.


Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students as reflective practitioners, will learn to make decisions regarding appropriate practices for integrating technology when teaching students with disabilities including the ability to:

1.      Demonstrate knowledge of legislations and regulation and regulations related to

      assistive technology and their implications for special education.

2.      Demonstrate knowledge of characteristics of exceptional learners that influence the use of assistive technology.

3.      Identify appropriate augmentative communication processes and devices for persons with disabilities based on individual needs.

4.      Demonstrate an understanding of the funding initiative in support of assistive technology acquisition in the classroom, school, and community.

5.      Identify common assistive devices for persons with disabilities and describe how these adaptive devices can be used to aid persons with cognitive, sensory, communication, and/or motor disabilities.

6.      Integrate multi-media technologies in support of instruction and communication (including scanning, digital photography, audio, video, and CD ROM).

7.      Identify resources which may be utilized to select, implement, and evaluate assistive technology for students with disabilities.

8.      Demonstrate the ability to identify critical features of commercially produced software for use with persons with disabilities.

9.      Demonstrate an understanding of IEP regulations.  Write instructional goals incorporating the use of assistive technology.

10.  Demonstrate the ability to integrate Internet technologies into special education classrooms for instructional applications.

11.  Describe strategies for adapting play materials for young children with disabilities.

12.  Demonstrate the ability to develop a plan for effectively integrating technology into the curriculum.

13.  Identify how persons with disabilities can integrate assistive technology in the home and community.

14.  Analyze research-based literature for integration of assistive technologies into the curriculum for students with disabilities.



Course Requirements                                    Point Value                              

1.                  Assistive Technology Support Plan

a)      Case Study                                    10                                                                          

b)      Lesson Plan                                   20                   

2.                  Augmentative Communication

a)       Self-Program                                30

b)       Student Program                           30

3.                  Research Article Critiques                 20

4.                  Software Selection                             25

5.                  Assistive Technology Device                35

6.                  Multi-media lesson                            50                               

7.                  Final Exam                            100

7.         Attendance and Participation             20

Total Possible                 340


Grading Scale

A = 90-100%

B = 80-89%

C = 70-79%

D = 60-69%

F =   0-59%
























              (The instructor reserves the right to modify this schedule based upon the needs of the class)


DAY/DATE           TOPICS                                READINGS DUE                    ASSIGNMENTS DUE

 T 1/13         Course Overview

                    Person First Language

                    Overview of Disabilities


T 1/20         Legislation and AT                                    Ch. 1


W 1/22         Assessments

                     IEP and AT

                     Funding                                                 Ch. 2 & 3                     


T 2/3         Augmentative Communication        Ch. 5                        Case Study Present      


T 2/10         Augmentative Communication  cont.                                  

                  Board Maker Software Program                                                                              


T 2/17       Access: Keyboard Adaptations,                    Ch. 6                            

                    Sensory Disabilities, Toys/Switches                                             


T 2/24        continued                                                            


T 3/2                                                                                                                    AAC Self-Program Dinner                                                             

T 3/9        Spring Break                                                         


T 3/16       Academic Instruction cont.                         Ch. 7                         AAC Student Program                                            Montgomery et al.         

                                                                               Stanford & Siders                                                                                      


T 3/23      Multi-media: Power Point,                          Ch. 8                            

                 Hyperstudio                                                 Langone et al.               

                                                                               Wissick et al.


T 3/30        Work in classs on multi-media                                                       

                   program                                                                             Software Present                  


T4/6         Mobility, Seating and Positioning,               Ch. 4 & 9               

                Daily Living


T 4/13       At in the Schools

                  Guest Speakers


T 4/20         Presentations                                                                             Lesson Plans

                                                                                                                    AT Device

                                                                                                                    Multi Media

T 4/27         Final Exam

Descriptions of Assignments


Instructional Plan

1.       Case Study.  The first part of the plan is to write a description of the student you will be supporting.  Describe the nature of the disability, strengths, and needs of the student.  The student can be one you are working with or one within your school.

2.      Lesson Plan.  Drawing upon the information in the case study and the IEP or 504 plan, students will create a lesson plan for the student which incorporates the use of AT.  The lesson plan will incorporate resources and technology learned in class.  Plans should include:

a)      student description

b)      subject matter to be taught

c)      related materials

d)      assistive technology

e)      hardware, software requirements

f)        implementation procedures, specific strategies and activities

g)      special considerations

h)      evaluation procedures


Augmentative Communication

1.      Self-program.  Students will self –program an augmentative communication device provided by the course instructor.  Devices will be programmed for use in a community-based restaurant.

2.      Student program.  Students will program a second augmentative communication device for the student in their case study.


Assistive Technology Research Article Critique

            Two articles, one to two pages double spaced per article reviewed.  Students will inform the course instructor as to which topics will be reviewed.  Presentations will be made the evening that the topic is covered in lecture.  Review will include:

a)      citation in APA style (see journal articles listed in syllabus)

b)      content report (what the article is about)

c)      personal thoughts (what you think of the concepts and their application)

d)      include a copy of the article


Software Evaluation

            Based on the student selected for the case study, select two appropriate software programs

            using the software evaluation forms that will be provided.  Select programs which would

            be appropriate for the student and his/her disability and educational needs.


Assistive Technology Device

            Students will make a ‘low-tech” AT device which supports instruction of the student

            From the case study.



Multi-media lesson

            Each student will present a specific lesson using multi-media tools (HyperStudio or

            Power Point).  The lesson will again be based on the student described in the case study.

            The lesson must include a minimum of:

a)      five (5) slides or cards

b)      three (3) elements of clip art

c)      one (1) sound effect

d)      one (1) digital or scanned photograph



During class time of April 20, students will be required to visually demonstrate and present their lesson plans, AT device, and multi-media program. Throughout the semester students will be required to demonstrate additional products.



Final Examination: Hardware and Software Competency Demonstration

            Students will demonstrate competencies in the use of each of the assistive technologies

           discussed in class and explored through lab assignments. 


Attendance and Participation

The expectation of this course is that you will be an active participant in every class.

            Attendance and punctuality will be monitored at the beginning of class each day.  To earn

 the 20 points for attendance and participation, only one class may be missed. If you are

 absent, please obtain lecture notes from a classmate.





Writing expectations

Organization, clarity, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and neatness are very important in any type of professional writing, and adequate performance in all of these areas is expected in the written products required for this course.

All written assignments should be word processed and stapled.



All identifying names and information should be omitted from written work and



Due Dates

All readings should be completed by the date listed on the schedule.  Assignments are due on the indicated date at the beginning of class, and those submitted late (after the start of class on the due date) will be penalized 10% per day.  Absolutely no papers will be accepted after the last day of class.



Undergraduate Academic Honor Code

Students are expected to adhere to the Honor Code as described in the UNCW Student Handbook and Code of Student Life.  Violation of the Honor Code may result in a failing grade in the course.


Disability Accommodation

If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing accommodations of any type in order to participate in this class, you must notify Disability Services (962-3746), provide the necessary documentation of the disability, and arrange for the

appropriate authorized accommodations.  Once these accommodations are approved,

please identify yourself to me so that I can implement these accommodations.