Student success using an assistive technology may be partially attributed to educators' acceptance of the technology. High school and college educators in New York and California participated in a qualitative study of the implementation of a speech-to-text support service for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Educators' interviews were analyzed using criteria from Rogers (1995) model of diffusion of innovations. Educators accepted the support service due to its relative advantage to other notetaking services, perceived simplicity of the system, and perceived potential for students. Acceptance was less clear-cut in the domains of compatibility and trialability. Educators were less certain that it was compatible with their expectations for student learning in the classroom and trialability of the service was influenced by educators' perceptions of how they were approached for the trial of the service in their classrooms. Results of this study suggest that successful implementation of assistive technology depends on the ability to satisfy both student needs and educators' values. While the typical U.S. high school or college classroom of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is not exactly primitive, the common ways of delivering information in those settings (i.e. lecture and discussion) have changed very little throughout the generations (Matthews, 1997). In contrast, from the perspective of special education, federal legislation has brought considerable change to the public classroom since 1975 (Ballantine, 1997). For example, the number of students who are deaf or hard of hearing that attend school in mainstreamed settings increased dramatically. Fifteen years ago, only 30% of these approximately 60,000 students attended mainstreamed programs. Today, more than 80% participate in mainstream programs in public schools. In addition, an estimated 15,000 students attend some form of post secondary education, mostly in mainstreamed settings (Ficke, 1992; National Center on Educational Statistics, 1999; Schildroth & Hotto, 1994; Walter, 1992). In order to accommodate these students, many students and their school districts have relied on assistive technologies to enhance communication and access in the classroom setting.
Department, Program, or Center
Communication Studies and Services (NTID)
Journal of Special Education Technology. 2003. 18 (3).
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