U.S. Funds Educational Video Products Targeting Students With Disabilities

The government is accepting applications to fund development and dissemination of educational technologiesthat will help students with disabilities improve academic achievements
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The U.S. government is accepting applications to fund the development and dissemination of educational technologies—including videos and video systems—that will help students with disabilities improve their academic achievements.

On May 21, 2012, the Department of Education posted a Federal Register notice—Applications for New Awards; Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities--Stepping-Up Technology Implementation—announcing the agency’s plan “to fund cooperative agreements to identify resources needed to effectively implement evidence-based technology tools that benefit students with disabilities.”

The notice says the grantees are to “develop and disseminate products” such as instruction manuals, lesson plans, demonstration videos and ancillary instructional materials “that will help a broad range of schools to effectively implement these technology tools.”

About $3.5 million is available to be awarded, with the average size of an award expected to be about $500,000, the notice says.

To be considered for funding under the program, both applicants and projects must meet programmatic and administrative requirements. In addition, applicants must include:

  • A logic model, or conceptual framework, depicting the goals, activities, outputs and outcomes of the proposed project
  • A logic model that communicates how a project will achieve its outcomes, as well as a framework for both formative and summative evaluations of the project
  • A plan, linked to the proposed project’s logic model, for a formative evaluation of the proposed project’s activities

In addition, an outline detailing how the employment of products and resources designed to assist with the implementation of evidence-based technology tools is critical to ensure those tools will be effective at improving the academic achievements of children with disabilities, the notice says. The reason an outline is necessary is because the results of a survey of more than 1,000 educators indicate that simply providing teachers with technology does not ensure that it will be used.

The survey also indicated that while newer teachers may use technology in their personal lives more often than veteran teachers, they do not use it more frequently in their classrooms than veteran teachers do. In addition, the survey indicated that the more often teachers use technology to improve students’ daily classroom engagement, the more likely teachers are to recognize the benefits to understanding different student learning styles.

The deadline to file grant applications is July 5, 2012.

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