Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Suzanne R. O'Neill


Access to technologies and understanding the potential uses of technology to differentiate instruction have been a concern for the teachers and students in a local school district located in the southeastern United States. Despite the emergence of digital voice assistants (DVAs) as tools for instructions, teachers lack knowledge and strategies for using DVAs to differentiate instruction in their classrooms. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify teacher knowledge and strategies employed among special education (SPED) teachers using DVAs to differentiate instruction in their classrooms. The concepts of Carol Tomlinson’s differentiation theory and Mishra and Koehler’s TPACK framework served as the foundation of this study. The research questions examined middle school SPED teachers’ perceptions of challenges using DVAs to differentiate instruction, resources, and strategies available to these teachers as well as their perceived knowledge of using DVAs to differentiate instruction. In this basic qualitative study, data were collected from 6 SPED teachers using semistructured interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically. The findings suggest that teachers had little to no perceived challenges when using DVAs to differentiate instructions. However, the overutilization of DVAs might rob students of their ability to think independently. This study offers several prospects for future research related to the topic and findings. Further research is needed at the elementary and high school levels that may include core content teachers. The findings in this study serve as grounds for social change for schools and school districts to develop training solutions, policies, and guidelines for teachers to follow when implementing technology.