2000 Conference Proceedings

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I can see the technology is being used, but is it effective?

Dave L. Edyburn, Ph.D.
Dept. of Exceptional Education
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 532010413
email: edyburn@uwm.edu 
phone: 414/2294821



Over the past decade, k-12 schools have demonstrated considerable prowess in acquiring many forms of technology: hardware, software, assistive technologies, networks, and internet access. Indeed, most school districts have devoted an increasing percentage of the annual budget to technology acquisition. However, unlike the abundance of indicators documenting the acquisition of technology, few guidelines are available to benchmark progress in the effective use of technology.

The 1997 reauthorization of I.D.E.A has challenged special education teachers and administrators to devise measures of accountability that illustrate individual and group measures of student achievement. The purpose of this session is to provide participants with resources for identifying, measuring, and reporting on the effectiveness of assistive and instructional technology.


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The following outline will guide the discussion and activities:

I. Introduction

A. Accountability questions: What are they? Who asks them?

II. Framing the Issues

A. Present mini-cases and discuss in small and large groups

B. Effectiveness indicators

C. Benchmarks

D. Standards of proof

E. Toolkit of measurement strategies

III. How does technology enhance teaching?

A. Indicators that should be examined (teacher/subject variables)

B. Benchmarks: What does the literature tell us?

C. Creating a local plan to assess how technology enhances teaching

D. Interpreting data

E. Reporting the results

IV. How does technology enhance learning?

A. Indicators that should be examined (individual/group, subject variables)

B. Benchmarks: What does the literature tell us?

C. Creating a local plan to assess how technology enhances learning

D. Interpreting data

E. Reporting the results

V. How does technology enhance performance?

A. Indicators that should be examined (aided/unaided, pre-post)

B. Benchmarks: What does the literature tell us?

C. Creating a local plan to assess how technology enhances performance

D. Interpreting data

E. Reporting the results

VI. Concluding Activities

A. Summary

B. Review of materials in resource kit

C. Evaluation


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Participants will discuss actual cases where they will be asked to discern if a given practice is effective (e.g., word prediction software for a student that has difficulty with handwriting) and design plans for evaluating the effectiveness of the claim. To the extent possible, the group will also generate other "typical" cases to guide the activities and facilitate the use of the materials and resources when they return home. Each participant will receive an extensive resource collection (print and electronic) to facilitate their leadership in implementing new accountability procedures.


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