September 21, 2014  

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Special Education Technology Workshop Gives Teachers New Classroom Tools

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Grace Strahan, center, a training manager with Synergetics DCS Inc., talks with participants in a special education technology workshop for teachers of students with special needs about the advantages of using a SMART Board in their classroom. The workshop was held June 28 at the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)
Grace Strahan, center, a training manager with Synergetics DCS Inc., talks with participants in a special education technology workshop for teachers of students with special needs about the advantages of using a SMART Board in their classroom. The workshop was held June 28 at the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)

A workshop held June 28 on The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg campus provided teachers of students with special needs information about the latest technology they can use to advance learning in their classrooms.

The workshop was moderated by Southern Miss professors Sharon Rouse and Joy Hines of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. More than 30 teachers from Mississippi and Alabama participated.

Rouse said the workshop provided participants the use of new technology to meet the needs of students in a way that makes learning fun, beneficial and interactive. “”We’re thrilled these teachers would take time from their summer months to enhance their technology skills,” she said.   

Included were hands-on activities using technology to access online resources for the classroom; presentations by vendors sharing information about educational technology products for teachers; and a segment on Common Core, a national standard for classroom instruction designed to prepare students to succeed in college and in their chosen careers.

“Our hope is that these teachers came away from the workshop with knowledge about the best apps and technology available to them for developing and enhancing their curriculum and instruction,” said Hines.

Nan Davis, a teacher in the Hattiesburg Public School District, attended the workshop and looks forward to using what she’s learned in the coming school year. “It’s been wonderful, very informative and very hands-on,” Davis said of the workshop. “I believe it has really helped us understand how we can use the latest technology to meet the needs of our students.”

Cindy Allbritton, a first-year teacher in the Simpson County School District, said she was impressed with what she learned was available to help her teach her third-grade students. “There are so many apps out there designed for teaching special needs kids,” she said. “I’m looking forward to downloading all of them.”

Rouse said another focus of the workshop was to address specific technology requirements that are part of the Common Core, as well as other others topics that included using technology in special education and managing issues related to bullying in the school setting.

“The teachers brought a lot of energy and good ideas that they shared with each other about teaching students at various levels,” Rouse said. “They feel that their job is to level the playing field for their students, and having access to the latest in technology can help them achieve that goal.”

For information about the Southern Miss Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, including its Technology Education programs, online visit www.usm.edu/cise.