Assistive technology (AT) and instructional technology (IT) tools, when selected and used appropriately, can help students with disabilities achieve positive outcomes and be successful at school, at home, in the community, and ultimately, in the workplace. For students with disabilities to realize the potential of AT and IT interventions to increase access to the general curriculum and enhance learning outcomes, state and district leaders, school administrators and practitioners, and parents need access to current, relevant and reliable information to make decisions on the selection of appropriate technologies, services and evidence-based interventions.
To support this need, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) established the Center on Technology and Disability (CTD), a five-year technical assistance center, to increase knowledge of evidence-based AT and IT practices, provide technical assistance (TA) with the goal of building capacity among multiple stakeholder groups and fostering a cohesive system that reflects current AT and IT advances. AIR partners with FHI360, PACER and national experts on AT and IT to accomplish the following Center goals:
- Increase the effectiveness of educators in using AT and IT in the classroom;
- Provide high-quality TA to SEAs and LEAs to help them build sustainable systems of competence in assistive and instructional technologies; and
- Help families make informed decisions about AT for their children with disabilities and advocate on their behalf.
In this work, AIR serves as the lead for delivering high-quality universal and targeted TA to state and district leaders that addresses current AT and IT needs of education leaders as they support school administrators, teachers, and students in their selection, acquisition, and use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.
In this joint webinar series with CTD and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), learn more about the legal requirements related to accessibility, particularly as it relates to recent legislation. Understand the opportunities and challenges presented by emerging technologies and considerations for your technology planning and purchasing decisions. See also Understanding Assistive Technology: Policy and Implications for State Leaders.
Accessibility is essential for leveraging technology and providing educational opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners. The toolkit offers resources, tips, and information for state and district leaders that can provide guidance on how to ensure accessibility is part of the educational equation. The goal is to support leaders in being proactive instead of reactive. The four sections of the toolkit define accessibility and share why this effort is important today, identify the legal requirements for digital accessibility, describe the benefits of digital accessibility, and explain the procurement of accessible technology.
This video series is designed to help SEA and LEA leaders conduct and participate in their own research and evaluation studies on technology initiatives to support improved learning outcomes for students with disabilities. Each video in the series addresses key topics such as study design, crafting research questions, partnering with external researchers, and reviewing the literature.
This guide was developed as a companion to the Center on Technology and Disability’s video series Research, Technology, & Students With Disabilities: Supporting LEA & SEA Decision Making. This guide extends the learning in the video series and is designed to support education leaders as you evaluate progress toward meeting the goals and intended outcomes for your educational technology initiatives and programs.
Rapid changes in technology will continue to shape the future of special education services and the integration of assistive technology. An understanding of the shifts in the technology landscape and possible future directions for the field is imperative for state education agency leaders as they develop the procedures, guidance, policies, and funding structures to support future-ready special education programs and initiatives. This report provides insights into the current status and future development of assistive technology as well as guidance to resources.