Date of Award

Summer 2016

Degree Type

Certificate of Advanced Study


Educational Leadership


Michael K. Barbour


The purpose of this study was to examine the use of technology in various educational environments. Specifically, it looked at the ways in which technology is integrated into special education classrooms, and how it impacts learning. Two self-contained special education high school classrooms were studied, using qualitative methods of data. These included field notes based on observations and a semi-structured interview. In addition, a review of the literature on this topic was conducted to better place the study within the context of wider work done in this area. The data from the two classrooms were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The results of the study were presented along with a discussion regarding the findings, including the two main themes which were teacher comfort with technology and the impact that the technology has on the students. Although both teachers were different, and had vastly different teaching styles and experiences in the classroom, both found these themes to be the most important. Finally, conclusions were drawn based on the findings of the study, which included the type of training that might be helpful for teachers and staff working with special needs students using educational technology. Implications regarding future research and ways to generate deeper awareness and more effective use of educational technology with special education students were explored.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the coursework required for the post-masters' Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Educational Leadership.



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