Despite the positive impact that assistive technology (AT) can have on the academic success of students with learning disabilities, it is often inconsistently implemented or abandoned. It has been established that teachers' perceived usefulness of AT can act as a barrier to classroom AT implementation. The purpose of this study is to expand the current understanding of the challenges with implementation of AT within the classroom environment to inform teacher training on AT tools, improve professional development around AT and address the systemic and practical barriers that impact AT implementation within Ontario classrooms.
This research examined Grade 6–10 Ontario-certified teachers' (N = 111) perceptions of AT and the variables that predict perceived usefulness of AT. The study used a mixed methods design including a survey consisting of open- and closed-ended items that elicited information about teachers' AT knowledge and training, their access to AT resources, their perception of administrative support for access to and implementation of AT, the usefulness of AT and the barriers to AT use in the classroom.
An exploratory linear regression was conducted to predict perceived usefulness of AT from AT training, AT resources and AT knowledge and revealed that AT resources and AT knowledge added statistically significantly to the prediction, whereas AT training did not. A thematic analysis of open-ended survey responses and interview data further identified that access, training, Internet and student motivation may influence AT use.
Implications for teachers’ AT training and provision of AT resources are discussed.
Funding: The authors acknowledge funding support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (CGS-D).
Lamond, B., Mo, S. and Cunningham, T. (2022), "Teachers' perceived usefulness of assistive technology in Ontario classrooms", Journal of Enabling Technologies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JET-05-2022-0040
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