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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Instructional Technology - Topic 20

What is it?

The use of instructional technology to support learning is bolstered by a growing body of research that explores its usefulness in teaching students with a wide range of abilities.  As new and improving technology develops and access continues to expand, instructional technology offers a way to teach to a variety of learning styles through flexibility and scaffolding while maintaining student engagement and motivation.  

Computer-mediated instruction (CMI) has been a focus in recent years, moving away from the use of software that simply provides drill-and-practice as a model of technology use.  CMI integrates technology in a way that is intended to build on prior knowledge in order to scaffold student learning toward higher order thinking and improved problem solving skills.  CMI fosters a more interactive learning experience that makes use of multimedia technology that is able to accommodate diverse learners of varying ability and proficiency.       

Why is it important?

A main strength of instructional technology is its adaptability.  For example, text can be presented in a variety of ways by adjusting font size or making use of read aloud features.  Through the use of video, graphics, hypertext, and speech production programs, material is customized and differentiated to meet the needs of individual students.  By doing so, students with disabilities are afforded access to curriculum and to general education classrooms in ways that may not have been accommodated in the past.


Cook, B.G., & Tankersley. (2013). Research-based practices in special education. Boston: Pearson

Education, Inc.   

Web Links

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS)

Center for Applied Special Technology

IRIS Module (Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities

Instructional Design Knowledge Base

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