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Online Resources Provided by the US Department of Education (Part 3 of 3)

In my previous posts I wrote about Tech Matrix and The National Center for Technology Innovation.  These organization’s websites contain a wealth of technology resources for special education teachers, administrators, professional development trainers, and technology coordinators to widen their knowledge about technology and special education.  These were two of three Department of Education organizations that I recently found while searching online.

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Today’s post is about another Department of Education organization, The Center for Implementing Technology in Education.  My first experience with this website was watching their narrated tour of their website.  This link was a great first look at what this site has to offer.  I definitely suggest checking it out.

There are three main categories on this site:  the Learn Center, the Action Center, and the Research Center.  All of these can be best utilized by becoming a free registered user under the My Center link.  When you register you are able to bookmark and tag links and articles that you find relevant to what you want to know or to learn about.  You can then share these resources and create ‘toolkits’ to send your colleagues, teams, or teacher friends.

The Learn Center

The Learn Center provides resources for a variety of educational professionals including teachers, administrators, technology coordinators, and professional development coordinators.  When you go to this site, you chose your role, and you will be directed to a page of resources that fits your designated role.  Under the teachers link, the site is broken down into four sections – responsibilities, topics, featured resources, and related research.  Under all of the sections, the user chooses the categories of interest and then the selection will provide further resources from various online resources to learn more about the topic.  These resources range from research articles, blogs, state resources, and other organizations that support the education of special needs children.  This website is a great jumping-off point to learn more and stay current with trends in technology with special needs students.

Action Center

The Action Center provides professional development materials and the EdTech Locator.  The EdTech Locator was discussed in my first post about the Tech Matrix.  This tool is great for professional development to determine where you, your staff, or your school is at in means of technology integration.  This resource provides information to help take you from the early stage of integration to the target state of integration.

Research Center

The Research Center contains article links about emerging and current best practices of technology integration for the special education classroom.  This information can be applied to local schools and assist in making technology choices in the special education classroom.  One article from this section I found interesting was research that was done at different levels of education on calculator implementation in the special education classroom.  Overall, the research findings were that the use of calculators had a positive impact on operational and problem solving skills.

Overall, I hope that you have found the past three posts to be very informative and as great resources for learning more about technology in special education.  These sites represent the now and the future of how technology can help students with special needs to achieve academic and social goals helping them to become independent and active citizens in their adult lives.  These three resources would be great to share with your fellow colleagues, those who are both special education teachers and those who have special education students in their mainstream classrooms.  I have learned a lot about the various tools, websites, research, and products available for special needs students from these resources and I hope you have too.

Article By Laura Ketcham

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Online Resources Provided by the US Department of Education (Part 2)

In my previous post I wrote about Tech Matrix, an online database of technology resources for teachers to help in educating special education students.  This was one of three Department of Education organizations that I recently found while searching online.

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Today’s post is about another Department of Education organization that I found was very helpful for learning about technology for special needs student: The National Center for Technology Innovation.  This site is directed more toward researchers and companies that make assistive technology, however, as a teacher, I found the information useful to keep up-to-date on the cutting edge research in special education and assistive technology.

Technology Innovators Conference

This organization will be holding an intriguing conference in Washington D.C. in the middle of November called the Technology Innovators Conference.  This conference is based upon  research grants that are applied for the prior year for their program called Tech in the Works.  The research on the chosen topics is then completed, and then the researchers share their findings at the conference.  Resources of past conferences including online video and presentations can also be found online.  This is a great resource to learn about the top research topics in this field.

Other Resources & Articles

Under their Products Link in a Section called Yellow Pages, I found a resource where teachers can find funding for assistive technology for the classroom.  You can also search  people, research projects, and vendors through this feature.

Relevant articles can be found through the Case Studies, Publications, and Innovator Profiles links.  Topics include speech technology, the future of assistive technology, assistive tech products put to the test, and using technology to empower students.  Many of these articles revolve around various products and technology programs that are on the market for special needs individuals.  This information can be very helpful when comparing various technologies that you may want to implement into your classroom.

Top Tech Trends for Special Education

The trends section of this website aggregates information from the top online resources including blogs, journals, magazines, and newspapers.  This information is then represented using a word cloud.  The links of words that are the largest are the ones that are the most written about topics in the trends today.  Selecting on the links will bring you to pages of articles and resources about this topic.  Below, topics can also be chosen based on pre-set categories of interest.  One cloud link that I found interesting and current was about portable technology.  Many of the articles are about the iPad, e-books, and cell phones and how they are helping individuals with disabilities to communicate.

Overall, this is a great website for special education teachers (and students who are studying to become special education teachers) to find information about current trends in special education technology and the research of the future.  The articles I found were intriguing and make me to read and learn more.

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By ~Brenda-Starr~

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Online Resources Provided by the US Department of Education

The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs has three programs that are great resources for special education teachers, administrators, and technology coordinators:  Tech Matrix, The National Center for Technology Innovation, and The Center for Implementing Technology in Education.  Their companion websites have research-based articles, professional development resources, specialized searches, assistive technology reviews, articles, and events information related to technology and special education.

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Today’s post will include information about Tech Matrix.  Please come back over the next two weeks to learn more about The National Center for Technology Innovation and The Center for Implementing Technology in Education.

Tech Matrix

Tech Matrix is a free online database for teachers and parents to use to find research-based articles, professional development resources, specialized searches, and assistive technology options from various private and public online resources.  This site aggregates the “best-of-the-best” resources available for learning and implementing strategies for special education.  Tech Matrix helps to simplify the search of information in regards to special education.  Tech Matrix is created and maintained by The National Center for Technology Innovation and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education.

There are several different ways to search for resources and research through Tech Matrix.  There is a search option if you know what information you are looking for, and there are three general topic areas.

The first one is the Consumer Guides section.  This section helps to connect education administrators and assistive technology companies in building relationships and making technology decisions for special education students.  This PDF document includes information on funding, standard alignment, and implementation in an easy to read format.

The second section in Tech Matrix is the EdTech Locator.  This portion of the website allows teachers, administrators, and tech coordinators to see where they stand on integration of technology in the classroom.  This would be a great resource for a professional development course.  The user takes a short quiz to see where they stand and the program has tree targets – early, developing, and target integration of technology.  This site can help teachers to reach the goals of integrating technology in the classroom without feeling overwhelming and making sure that the technology integration is meaningful and helping the students achieve their academic goals.

The third section in Tech Matrix is the Hot Topics section.   This section includes the information from the content subject areas.  This is the most helpful section for the tech-savvy instructor who wants to learn more about technology integration in the classroom with special needs students.  Topics include reading, science, math, and writing for struggling readers along with differentiating instruction, technology integrating and transitioning with technology.  When you select on one of these topics you will find information related to the topic including relevant research papers, links to other online resources that answer hot topic questions, and technology product reviews.  Many of the resources are pulled from www.ldonline.org, a PBS national education service.

Don’t hesitate to take a look at the Tech Matrix pages above and leave a comment about the resources that you found the most helpful.

Article By Laura Ketchum

Picture By Ranoush

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