Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Mohamed Tazari

Abstract

Special education (SPED) service providers in the military are often underprepared to use the needed assistive technology (AT) in the classroom. This concurrent mixed-method study sought to explore the attitudes, skills, and quality indicators of assistive technology (QIAT) among 19 currently employed military SPED certified multidisciplinary team members. The conceptual framework of this study was based on the professional learning community model, which holds that the team members work collaboratively to educate the families it serves. All team members completed a quantitative QIAT survey and open-ended questionnaire, and individual qualitative interviews were conducted with a subsample of 8 volunteer staff. QIAT survey data were descriptively analyzed, while questionnaire data were transcribed, open coded, and thematically analyzed. All data were triangulated and member checking and peer debriefing were used to strengthen validity and credibility of the findings. Survey data revealed teachers' willingness to utilize AT in the classroom, although qualitative data suggested that the multidisciplinary team lacked the knowledge to consistently and confidently utilize AT within their classes daily. Additional emergent themes included collaboration, viable resources, unifying guidelines, AT support, training, and guidance. Administrators at the local site can use these findings as guidance in the development of in-service and district AT trainings and support. Through consistent usage of these interventions, the military community can impact positive change in the lived experiences of SPED service providers and the families that it serves.