ED to award $2.5M to support technology use in the classroom

The Education Department announced that it is accepting applications for an estimated $2.5 million in grants to support strategies needed to improve the use of existing technology tools that benefit students with disabilities.

The department expects to provide five awards, each of about $500,000, through the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities-Stepping-Up Technology Implementation grant program.

The grants will fund cooperative agreements to identify strategies needed for implementing existing technology tools that benefit students with disabilities and develop and disseminate materials that assist early childhood and K-12 staff in implementing those tools.

Past grant recipients have focused on effective strategies for reducing technology abandonment, including a project that found that teachers are more likely to stick with technology when it’s clearly aligned with an intervention (see related story below).

Although the use of technology, including assistive technology, can provide access for students with disabilities, research suggests that implementation can be a significant challenge, the Office of Special Education Programs said in its April 21 notice in the Federal Register.

“These findings demonstrate a need for products and resources that can assist educators to readily implement technology tools for students with disabilities,” OSEP said.

The technology tool that the applicants select must be fully developed, based on evidence, and incorporate principles of universal design for learning. The applicants will recruit and select three development schools, four pilot schools, and, if the project is extended to a fifth year, 10 dissemination schools.

To apply, go to grants.gov and enter “ED-GRANTS-042117-001” in the search field. The deadline for applications is June 5.

Jennifer Herseim covers Section 504, education technology, and Common Core issues related to special education for LRP Publications.

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