AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



DOVP Week: David Merves on Technology Issues in Special Education

My name is David Merves and I work for Evergreen Educational Consulting LLC (EEC), an evaluation consulting firm. A part of our practice involves evaluating federally funded, Special Education grants and programs that are intended to improve education and services for children and youth at risk of school failure or in need of special education (e.g., IDEA, Section 504).

The advent of online learning, distance learning and use of technology for the classroom has transformed how our clients work and the strategies and processes they employ. In order to perform our evaluative functions EEC is committed to staying abreast of technology issues/changes as they relate to Special Education. How can we evaluate that which we do not understand?

Hot Tip – iNACOL – International Association for K-12 Online Learning: iNACOL has excellent resources for collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning for all students.

Hot Tip – ISTE – International Society for Technology in Education : ISTE is an association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving teaching and learning by advancing the effective use of technology in Pre K-12 and teacher education.

Rad Resources: If you wish to dive deeper into technology waters here are three additional resources, which, go beyond Pre K-12 and bridge the transition to the working world:

  1. Christopher Dede- Harvard Graduate School of Education He states, education needs to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, which may not, currently, have been invented/created. He uses Web 2.0 as a jumping off point to discuss “thinking skills” for teachers and students utilizing tools, such as, wikis, blogs and discussion forums. He goes further and discusses creativity skills using video/photo sharing websites, mashups and online writer workshops.
  2. Elliott Masie is an internationally recognized futurist, analyst, researcher and organizer on the critical topics of workforce learning, business collaboration and emerging technologies. He has a free e newsletter, as well, as fee-based services.
  3. The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market (book), Frank Levy (Author), Richard J. Murnane (Author). Their premise is, if educational curriculums aren’t changed to reflect the market’s demand for sophisticated thinking and communication, students may graduate without the skills they need.

Google the above names for further materials and references.

These resources have enhanced our abilities as evaluators to work in the changing and increasingly technological-educational world. We as evaluators need to stay current with the methods and processes being adapted for use within Special Education. One example is the promising research being demonstrated in Second Life (a MUVE- Multi-user Virtual Environment), with students on the Autism Spectrum at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations (DOVP) Week with our colleagues in the DOVP AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our DOVP members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting DOVP resources. You can also learn more from the DOVP TIG via their many sessions at Evaluation 2010 this November in San Antonio.


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