Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David I. Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew J. Krüger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Benjamin Brumley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tina Lawson, Ed.D., BCBA


The purpose of this explanatory, sequential, mixed-method study was to examine the perceptions and use of digital technology by educators supporting the needs of students with disabilities attending K-12 classrooms and any correlation between the assistive technology (AT) knowledge, skills, and needs of K-12 educators within Pennsylvania. Technology has become ubiquitous and has emerged in schools as a means for students to interact with academic content. The provision of 1:1 devices was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which created opportunities for educators to discover innovative features that made learning more accessible to all students. Results indicated educators recognized AT as helpful for all core academic classes, helped students complete their assignments, and assisted them in making academic progress. Much of the commonly used AT identified offered features that have become streamlined over time or are alternatives to non-digital items. Themes identified in the study were associated with (1) access and engagement, (2) technology integration factors, and (3) elements of AT use. Although AT was viewed positively by all participants, its integration was reliant on the comfort level of the educator, challenges experienced, and the training and support needed to effectively implement AT with confidence. Training on how to use devices, ideas for use in special education settings, and having the ability to try devices as part of the decision-making process were identified as currently working to promote AT use, whereas additional training on how to use AT in general education settings was identified as a need for improving AT implementation.

Included in

Accessibility Commons