Update on Grant-funded Research on EdTech Context in Therapeutic Day Schools

EdTech Evidence Exchange 9 June 2021 · 2 min 18 sec read

In 2021, the EdTech Evidence Exchange funded work by Dr. Elizabeth Sturm and Dr. Seung Kim at Lewis University to use the EdTech Context Inventory to identify key context features associated with edtech implementation in therapeutic day schools. Drs. Sturm and Kim’s research will contribute to ongoing validation for the EdTech Context Inventory in diverse educational settings. 

Q: Can you describe your work? 

A: The main purpose of the study is to discover key elements of effective technology implementation and provide recommendations for reducing drawbacks when implementing technologies in schools/classrooms. Specifically, we’re looking at how edtech appropriately supports learning and teaching to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities in the therapeutic day schools.

Q: What have you accomplished so far? 

So far, we have received IRB approval, recruited participants from therapeutic day schools, and begun to collect data with the EdTech Context Inventory. The participants in the preliminary data collection were a diverse group of educators in their teaching experiences, teaching grade levels and teaching subjects areas. Therefore, we had a great opportunity to gather more reliable and representative data.

Q: What has been tricky?

A: Recruitment is a definite challenge in our current school contexts, so we are planning to expand the geographic reach of our study to include additional therapeutic day schools. We will extend data collection and continue to follow up with educators who express interest in participating. 

Q: What excites you most about the work?

A: The most exciting aspects of this work involve the knowledge we will gain from the study, and use of the data to inform professional development for the participants. There is less knowledge about edtech implementation and use in private schools, especially ones that are structured to meet the needs of students with significant disabilities. In addition, the average private school teacher earns an average of $12,500 less than a public school counterpart (NCES, 2021) which may limit their ability to seek out professional development or attend conferences on their own. We are excited to use the knowledge gained from this study to help local private therapeutic day schools with free professional development tailored to their needs.

The data collected up to this point show participants perceive a lack of time, training and resources as barriers to planning and implementing technology. In addition, it appears from initial data that many of these schools do not have a technology plan or if they do, it is not transparent to the teachers. We look forward to using the final data and providing free professional development that helps lessen some of the barriers.

To learn more about this research and the EdTech Context Inventory, visit our website at https://edtechevidence.org/ or send an email to research@edtechevidence.org

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