Associate Professor Department of Special and Early Education College of Education
Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation
SESE 461: Assistive Technology for Individuals with Autism and Multiple Disabilities SESE 552: Assistive Technology/Multiple Disabilities
Purpose and Impact
I direct the Assistive Technology lab for the College of Education. Within this lab, we have a) a variety of technology for students and instructors to check out when needed, b) a large inventory of technology used to support children with disabilities and c) various tech subscriptions that all our students use within their teacher licensure program. This lab was developed from grant money and has evolved from a rolling cart to an entire classroom in 242 Graham Hall. We use this lab to support the students in our college and teach our Assistive Technology course, an undergraduate and graduate course requirement to receive special education teacher licensure in Illinois.
The students that graduate with their teacher licensure in special education from our department are prepared to work with students ranging from ADHD through severe disabilities such as physical disabilities, multiple disabilities, and developmental disabilities. Although we infuse, teach, and model teaching-based technology support throughout all our courses, the technology students with significant disabilities require is so unique that we have a standalone class titled SESE 461 (undergraduate section) and SESE 552 (graduate section), Assistive Technology for Individuals with Autism and Multiple Disabilities. This is the course that will be the focus of the innovation grant.
Description of Innovation
This course, created over 10 years ago without substantial updates, focuses on the technology support students with unique disabilities require. The state and national governing licensure bodies have updated the learning standards for this course, and given the rapid technological advancements in our society, this course desperately needs an overhaul.
While designing new content, I will also need to design this course to be delivered both in-person and online. The in-person version of the course relies heavily on a hands-on teaching approach in the Assistive Technology lab, which allows students to see and manipulate the technology, practice lessons, and have rich, collaborative experiences. For the online students, I will develop alternatives to provide the same rich, hands-on experience in a meaningful way.