The Effects of a Training Session on Teacher Knowledge, Perceptions, and Implementation of Assistive Technology in Secondary Schools
Despite the prevalence of students with mild disabilities in special education and the legal mandate to consider assistive technology to support their needs, research suggests low rates of assistive technology use by this population (Bouck, Maeda, & Flanagan, 2012; Derer, Polsgrove, & Rieth, 1996; Quinn, Behrmann, Mastropieri, & Chung, 2009). One major barrier to assistive technology consideration and implementation cited by teachers is a lack of training. This study examined changes in teachers’ knowledge, perceptions, and implementation of assistive technology as a result of a hands-on teacher training session. Participants included 61 regular and special education teachers and administrators in secondary public schools in one Western state. Participants completed a pre-training survey measuring their knowledge and experience with assistive technology, as well as their attitudes about using assistive technology. They then participated in a hands-on training session about assistive technology held at their school. After the training session, participants completed a post-training survey, as well as a follow-up survey given 30 days after the training session. The follow-up survey measured changes in participant implementation of assistive technology following the training session. Results of this study show that a teacher training session improved regular and special education teachers’ and administrators’ knowledge and perceptions of assistive technology. The findings also show that 49% of respondents to the follow up survey reported using assistive technology in their classrooms following the training session. Implications for future research are discussed.