Investigating teacher's use of assistive technology for teaching children with learning disabilities in Gothenburg
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher’s use of Assistive Technology (AT) to teach children with learning disabilities (LD) in elementary classrooms in the Gothenburg Municipality of Sweden. This thesis assessed classroom availability and use of 16 AT tools for teaching children with learning disabilities, teacher’s attitudes and teacher’s level of pedagogical competence in using AT to teach children with LD in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics and memory / organization disorders. Theory: The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework by Mishra and Koehler (2006) and the ABC Model of Attitudes provided the theoretical framework for investigating teacher’s use of AT devices for teaching children with learning disabilities. Method: This study was informed by the quantitative approach and a descriptive structured questionnaire for both special education and regular education teachers was used as the main instrument for collecting data. A total of (n=52) regular and special education teacher purposively selected from five different elementary schools in the Gothenburg municipality participated in the study which investigated their classroom availability and use of AT devices for teaching children with learning disabilities, their attitudes towards using AT and level of pedagogical competence. Results: Findings show that elementary classrooms in the Gothenburg Municipality of Sweden are equipped with the necessary AT tools for teaching children with learning disabilities However; three important high-tech devices for teaching children with LD which are talking calculators, pen scanners and paper-based computer pens were almost missing in elementary classrooms. Findings also indicate that teachers have positive attitudes towards using AT tools but some teachers are not fully equipped with the necessary pedagogical skills / competencies on how to identify, plan, evaluate and assess AT lessons for children with learning disabilities and opted for more training.