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6.2: A Panacea for Students’ Ills?

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    Many researchers, educators, and other stakeholders consider technology to be a tool that can help SWD and their teachers make critical improvements for learning and other outcomes (Duffey & Fox, 2012; Fletcher, Schaffhauser, & Levi, 2012; U.S. Department of Education, 2010). For some, technology writ large is a panacea for all of the world’s problems in education (hyperbole added). However, Perlman and Redding (2011) found that in order to be used most effectively, technology must be implemented in ways that align with curricular and teacher goals and must offer students opportunities to use these tools during learning. While there is documentation of student gains using technology in isolated cases (see Edyburn, 2013 for a recent review) the integration of technology at all levels remains surprisingly low (Lu & Overbaugh, 2009). In sum, relative to how widespread technology’s use has become in the field, it is alarming to face up to the paper-thin empirical base for technology’s use with SWD in content-area classrooms (Kennedy, Deshler, & Lloyd, 2015).

    In addition to the under-implementation and utilization of technology, Kennedy (2013) offered a different critique: Using technology for technology’s sake is not consistent with the requirement to provide individualized, evidence-based instruction to SWD as noted in IEPs and required by IDEA. In other words, the presence of technology as a way to package or deliver content does not automatically inoculate against lousy instruction. This does not mean technology should not be used with SWD, far from it. Instead, stakeholders should resemble what Njenga and Fourie (2010) call technoskeptics: Individuals who insist upon a higher level of theory, empirical evidence, and patience before racing to adopt every new app or technology tool they hear about on Twitter or Facebook. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a multimedia-based tool that can be created by teachers with technology they already have on their computers, and which meets the standard of providing high quality instruction to SWD. We provide examples of high-quality multimedia and step-by-step instructions for production.