Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

P. Helen Bair-Heal


This study was designed to examine the training of special education teachers employed in public schools in Illinois regarding educational technology and their use of educational technology in the classroom. Surveys were sent to a randomly-selected sample of special education teachers from the school districts and a randomly selected sample of the special education teachers of half of all special education cooperatives in Illinois. All teacher training institutions in Illinois that provide coursework for special education certification were also surveyed. Analysis was performed on the data from schools and cooperatives because the return rates for these two groups were considered acceptable for reaching conclusions regarding the populations. Returns from Chicago and the teacher training institutions were not submitted for analysis because the return rates were not considered acceptable.

Results of this study showed that responses from the two analyzed samples were generally similar. Both groups reported the highest percentages of computer use during student freetime and for drill and practice. These groups reported the lowest percentages of use of on-line connections and student-specific assistive technology devices. The reported number of respondents trained in the above areas corresponds with the state use in each area. Results showed that the highest percentages of training occurred in informal training settings. The study found that a majority of the respondents did not have students who had been assessed for the use of assistive devices. Concomitantly, a majority of the respondents' students did not have the topic of assistive technology on their students' IEPs. The teachers perceived the major barriers to providing technology in the classroom to be funding, training, administrative support, and support staff. Conclusions based on the results of this study strongly suggest that special education teachers in Illinois need more support and training in order to appropriately use technology with their students.