2000 Conference Proceedings

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Project STAR: Steppingstones from Technology to Action and Results

P align="center">Janie Cirlot-New, M.S., CCC/SLP
T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability
P.O. Box 9736
Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762
(601) 325-1028
Email: jcirlotnew@tkmartin.msstate.edu

Jill Ethridge, OTR/L
T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability
P.O. Box 9736
Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762
(601) 325-1028
Email: jethridge@tkmartin.msstate.edu



The effective infusion of technology in Mississippi classrooms is clearly a statewide need. As Mississippi's Master Plan for Educational Technology (1996) notes, "There is currently little systematic integration of technology into the curriculum in the majority of schools." This need of technology is especially critical in the area of special education. Students with disabilities who require assistive technology for expressive communication find themselves attending schools ill-equipped to meet their needs.

The T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability in partnership with the Mississippi State University Department of Education recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to develop and validate a technology-based approach for using assistive technology in improving access to and participation in the general curriculum for students with disabilities. The model will provide a process for utilizing appropriate augmentative and alternative communication technologies, strategies, and techniques to enhance educational outcomes of students with disabilities in rural school environments. These students have had little knowledge of or utilization of assistive technology for expressive communication.

Project Star has been fully operational for the past 1? years. Results and information from the on-going integration of technology into the classroom have been collected. Data demonstrates how the technology both promotes and increases access for students who exhibit decreased expressive communication.

At the beginning of the second year, an increase in the number of teams participating in Project Star was expanded. The extensive training process has been on-going for previous and newly added project team members.

The purpose of the project is to develop, implement, and evaluate a technology based approach to learning in order to improve literacy skills and to increase access to and participation in the general curriculum for students with expressive language impairments, both written and oral.

This presentation will provide information as to Project Star's current results and outcomes from the past year's efforts to increase the student's ability to access the general curriculum by integrating technology.

Information presented will include results of student outcomes, and student ability to access the general curriculum. The information presented will also discuss the training process necessary for reaching the present results and outcomes. The evolving technology needs and utilization within the classroom will be addressed.

The presentation will include examples of evaluation instruments, training procedures, and video clips. Examples of the Project's effort to utilize online tools for coordinating and encouraging interaction and information exchange will also be presented.


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