Zhou, L., Ajuwon, P. M., Smith, D. W., Griffin-Shirley, N., Parker, A. T., & Okungu, P. (2012). Assistive technology competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments: A national study . Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness , 106 (10), 656–665. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145482X1210601010

Journal Article

Zhou, L., Ajuwon, P. M., Smith, D. W., Griffin-Shirley, N., Parker, A. T., & Okungu, P. (2012). Assistive technology competencies for teachers of students with visual impairments: A national study. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 106(10), 656–665. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145482X1210601010

Tags

No disability; Teacher survey; Visual impairment (including blindness)

URL

https://www.afb.org/publications/jvib

Summary

Accommodation

This study examined educators' ratings of their own knowledge of various assistive technology (AT) tools.

Participants

In all, 840 teachers of students with visual impairments from throughout the U.S. as well as the Virgin Islands and Palau, participated. The types of educational programs included general education classrooms as well as self-contained classrooms and residential schools for students with visual impairments. Of these participants, 75 had visual impairments, and 56 used assistive technology regularly themselves.

Dependent Variable

The online survey completed by teachers had two sections. One section requested demographic information such as age, gender, location, overall teaching experience as well as experience with students with visual impairments, and an overall confidence rating about teaching and supporting students use of assistive technology. The other section was a list of 111 assistive technology competencies (Smith, Kelley, Maushak, Griffin-Shirley, & Lan, 2009), comprising 10 domains of knowledge and skill. The self-rating levels were novice, basic, proficient, and advanced.

Findings

The participants rated themselves as having various degrees of confidence in teaching with assistive technology: about 10% were very confident, 31% were confident, 39% had some confidence, 19% had limited confidence, and about 1% had no confidence. For the assessment competency, Domain 8, the mean score was 2.47, signifying that on average the participants estimated that they had basic knowledge and skill. Participants had the lowest levels of knowledge/skill in: deaf-blindness and AT use, foundations of AT, and use of refreshable braille, use of Nemeth code translation software, and funding professional development in AT. An implication discussed was that students may not have been receiving instruction in using refreshable braille, due to their educators' insufficient knowledge. Participants had proficiency or advanced levels of knowledge/skill in: using student data in designing instruction, using closed-circuit TV in instruction, collaborating on multidisciplinary teams, using standard braille-writers, and teaching AT to students individually or in groups. The researchers offered recommendations for professional development programs. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.