Technology for Merging the Strengths of Special Education and Mainstream

Easterbrook Discovery School

San Jose, California

  • John Lozano - Middle School Resource Specialist
  • Angie Rossi - K/1 Teacher
  • Kenny Silva - 8th Grade - ELA/Social Studies

John- 10 minutes

Why are we integrating technology? Why is it important?

Today’s meet

Easterbrook Discovery School

  • Transitional Kindergarten to 8th Grade
  • 1000+ students
  • District technology goal is 2.5 students to 1 device
  • Regular use of Data Teams
  • 21st Century Skills explicitly taught in all classrooms
  • Infusion of rigor and higher learning thinking skills into what we are already doing with the CCSS, including support for students
  • School-Wide use of Project Based Learning (PBL)

“Education is learning to use the tools which the race has found indispensable.”

Ernest Carroll Moore, First Provost, UCLA

(Inscription over stage in Royce Hall, UCLA)

Why do we mainstream special education students?


  • Higher Academic Achievement
  • Higher Self-esteem
  • Better Social Skills
  • Better for “full inclusion” model


  • More time and attention from teacher compared to non-special education students.
  • More professional development needed for classroom teachers
  • Social issues
  • Cost

NA Madden, RE Slavin (1983). Review of Educational Research, Vol. 53, No. 4, 519-56

Manzetti, Edward T. "An Evaluation of Mainstreaming in Vocational Education Programs in the State of Michigan."

How do we do this?

  • Remind teachers “Fair does not always mean equal”
  • IEP team reviews the least restrictive environment for special education students
  • Implement the accommodations and modifications listed in student’s IEP
  • Monitor student progress for IEP goals
  • Continual professional development

One area: Executive Function self-regulation

Implement support systems to help students with learning and development:

  • Working memory
  • Inhibitory control
  • Cognitive flexibility

Working with IEP team, develop a plan to:

  • Help the students develop a plan
  • Encourage students to monitor progress
  • Positive self-talk
  • Have students be mindful of interruptions
  • Practice perspective taking
  • Reflect on student work
  • Break a project down - make it “doable”

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence

What does this look like in the classroom?

Technology in the K/1 Classroom

  • 23 Students
  • Mixture of Kinders and 1st graders
  • Reading levels range from Pre-K to about 3rd grade
  • 6 iPads
  • Favorite apps-

Angie (10 minutes)

Using QR Codes for Differentiated Math

  • Supports workshop model
  • All students working on one math standard (example: addition within 20)
  • Teacher uses 2-3 story problems with varying degrees of difficulty
  • Use screencasting app to read story problem and verbally explain directions

Using QR Codes for Differentiated Math


  • Create a QR code for the screencast
  • Students scan QR code to hear directions and solve problem independently
  • Other students serve as “techsperts” to answer questions about technology so that teacher can be free to teach small groups.

Group A

Group B

Retelling Stories Using the iPad

  • Start with pattern books (Goldilocks, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, etc.)
  • Teacher read aloud several times
  • Use clipart from a book, Google images, Pinterest, etc.
  • Pair partners carefully

Pete the Cat Retelling- W

Pete the Cat Retelling- C

Retelling Stories using the iPad

  • Students share the images and plan how to color and cut them (COOPERATION!)
  • Take turns filming each other retelling the book using an iPad (Use Camera app)
  • Display through Apple TV, email to self, or use personal YouTube account, etc.

Inclusive Technology for Middle School

  • Blogging
  • E-portfolios
  • Collaborative technology
    • Padlet
    • Google docs/sheets

Kenny (10 minutes)

Blog Organization

screenshot of google form and spreadsheet

Kenny (10 minutes)

Resource Student Blog Entry

  • see special ed students contribute more willingly to blogs vs. journals
  • easy for students to edit
  • easy to access differently
  • no fine motor issues - illegible writing
  • sense of audience
  • parents are happy with it

Kenny (10 minutes)


  • student choice = student ownership
  • an interactive representation of work
  • students must reflect on their work (they get to brag a little)
  • cross-curricular - a page for every subject

Google Sites

Kenny (10 minutes)

Collaborative Tech for All

Padlet, Google docs & sheets

  • easy collaboration
  • seeing/doing what everyone else is
  • piggybacking is o.k.
  • students see their responses on an even par with everyone else’s (validating)

Kenny (10 minutes)

Using video to tell a story

“My Name is Michael”

Using video for authentic assessment

  • Teach the technical skills to make the video

Video editing

  • Have the students tell a story

Graphic organizers (Story map, Storyboard, Thinking Maps)

Metacognition (“Thinking about thinking”)


John introduces

(5 minutes)

My Name is Michael

John (5 minutes)

Easterbrook Discovery School

John (3 minutes)

Technology for Merging the Strengths of Special Education and Mainstream - Google Slides