Working toward equitable opportunities for science students with disabilities: Using professional development and technology

Jul 8, 2013, 13:14 PM
Bargerhuff, M.E., Cowan, H. & Kirch, S.A. (2010). Working toward equitable opportunities for science students with disabilities: Using professional development and technology. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 5(2), 125-135.

Characteristics

  • Grade/Age Level: Science teachers working with students with disabilities
  • Specific Difficulty Addressed: Meeting the National Science Standards
  • Creating Laboratory Access for Science Students (CLASS) involving instruction in and practice with a variety of AT ranging from low to high tech

Setting

  • CLASS participants met for a workshop, after the workshop adaptation suggestions were provided through the Ohio Resource Center (ORC) online.

Method

  • Workshops allowed teachers to design and implement lesson plans with actual middle and high school students with physical or sensory impairments.
  • Lessons were inquiry-based and universally designed
  • Participants were 20 educators from across the country teaching middle school, high school, special education, and university science.
  • Target participants were science and special educator teams and those interested in teaching students with physical, sensory or specific learning disabilities.
  • This study addressed whether CLASS workshops have an effect on teachers’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions towards science students with physical and sensory disabilities.
  • Measures: Teaching Science for Students with Disabilities survey and the end-of-workshop evaluation

 

Results

  • 90% of teachers had very minimal/no prior training in science methods courses for teaching individuals with disabilities.
  • On a 5-point scale, teachers gained points in preparedness in 7 of 13 IDEA categories of disability. Points were based on familiarity with science resources, use of management strategies during teaching, use of best practices in planning/teaching science to students with disabilities, and teachers’ perceived ability to use differentiated teaching strategies.
  • Participants stated that after the workshop they were better prepared to use resources, develop and implement teaching strategies, and act as advocates for students with disabilities in STEM classes.
Categories:
  • STEM
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