Technology

Assistive technology

Students in the master of education program in special education: assistive technology are learning by doing: They are building an informational website designed to inform and educate on the topic of assistive technology.

“Assistive technology is technology designed specifically for people with disabilities,” said Dr. Mary Gozza-Cohen, Director of Technology Integration and Online Teaching in the School of Education, Innovation and Continuing Studies. This technology is used “to either increase or maintain independence,” Gozza-Cohen said. “In education, the technology can level the playing field for some imdividuals. It provides access to the content, to materials, to instruction, for the individual.”

Assistive technology could mean a low-tech pencil grip or a higher-tech iPad app, a video screen designed for people with low vision, or other tools.

Students in the master’s program are full-time educators who are looking to enhance their knowledge of assistive technology and its application in the classroom.

“I would really like to use the website as a resource for the parents of the kids who I have at my school,” said Natalie Organ, a recent graduate of the master’s program who earned her undergraduate degree in education from Widener. “It’s my way of being able to give them a resource, to show them that there are a lot of devices that they can look into that could be helpful to a student with a disability.”

The master’s program, which just had its first cohort graduate this spring, is an option for recent graduates of Widener who can complete it in a four-plus-one-year option, or for graduate students with years of experience in the field of education, who may have the option of bringing in some prior graduate coursework if applicable. The flexible master’s program can be completed 100 percent online for students who live far from campus, or through a combination of in-person and online courses.

“I’ve taken many online courses and Widener has really done an excellent job with developing the online courses and making me feel like an actual student on the campus,” said Heather Stonefelt, a student from Reading, Pa. 

Those interested in applying for the master’s program should contact Dr. Merry Staulters at mlstaulters@mail.widener.edu.