Using EdTech to Help Students with Disabilities Access ‘Core’ Standards

By Mary Schillinger, M.S., EDLD

With new “core” state standards, using educational technology as a tool to help students with disabilities access rigorous curriculum is increasingly important. It is not, however, a matter of simply using the newest, brightest and trendiest applications and technology tools! Educators must know the desired learning outcome, as well as the learning profile (present level of performance) of each individual student.

Knowing the strategies of learning, including such key concepts as categorization, identification with similarities and differences, non-linguistic representation and more is critically important to planning what technology is appropriate, and when to use it. In addition, supporting executive functioning in ways that facilitate understanding of rigorous concepts, rather than stripping away rigor, makes selecting appropriate technology tools one of the most impactful decisions teachers and practitioners can make in planning instruction for students with disabilities.

Technology is a surefire way to promote student engagement!  The important concept for administrators and educators is to develop a framework that will ensure strategic selection of that technology. Understanding the essential concepts of core standards, along with the best technology tool(s) for individual learners to support their access to those concepts, is our responsibility as educators and particularly special educators.

I’m excited to present frameworks, strategic planning guides, and more at my FETC workshop How to Strategically Select and Use Technology to Help Special Ed Students Access State Standards.  Looking forward to seeing you there!



Mary Schillinger, M.S., EDLD, Assistant Superintendent – Education, Las Virgenes USD, Calabasas, Calif.

Mary Schillinger has been the Assistant Superintendent for Education in Las Virgenes Unified School District for the past eleven years. Her career began as a general education teacher and then a special education resource teacher, before she moved into administration as a high school coordinator, district program specialist, director of special education, and now assistant superintendent of education. Mary has Masters Degrees in Special Education and Educational Administration. As the Assistant Superintendent, she oversees the professional development and strategic planning for implementation of the Common Core State Standards for both general education and special education K-12. As a member of the faculty of California State University Northridge, Mary teaches courses in the special education teacher preparation and school psychology departments. She authored the LRP publications; The Administrator’s Guide to Building and Maintaining a Comprehensive Autism Program in 2010, Write On, A Guide to Compliant Documentation of Special Education Policies and Procedures in 2012 , and most recently Common Core and the Special Education Student: Your Guide to Instructional Shifts and Implementing Services and Supports in 2014. Her newest book, a professional development training guide to accompany the Common Core book is due to be published in Spring 2015. Mary is a presenter and consultant at state and national conferences.

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