My PhD is titled “Using computer-assisted instruction to teach vocabulary to students with mild Intellectual Disability” at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.
While there is a growing body of research promoting the use of games, multimedia, and websites to teach vocabulary to students, there is little research on the cognitive demands of such educational tools and whether some instructional materials are actually not suited for students with learning or intellectual disability.
My research has shown that computer-assisted instruction can be an effective delivery method for teaching vocabulary to students with mild Intellectual Disability but that ultimately lessons need to be considerate of the cognitive load that vocabulary tasks place on learners during instruction. More about my project can be found in this publication:
Burt, C., Graham, L. & Hoang, T. (2022). Effectiveness of computer-assisted vocabulary instruction for secondary students with mild Intellectual Disability. International Journal of Disability Development and Education, 69(2), 1273-1294. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2020.1776849.
I firmly believe that technology is a way that students of all abilities can be included into the same classroom and yet taught to their own ability level. As a former computer programmer turned special education teacher, I have seen through my own research that while computers can deliver effective (vocabulary) instruction, they can only do so through lesson design that successfully manages cognitive load and scaffolds students from easier to more challenging tasks.
My current research: Vocabulary and reading comprehension through games
Transmedia and The Electric Company Summer Learning Program
Inclusive Education for Students with Learning Disabilities
Teaching intellectually diverse students through games
My Classroom Projects:
The Electric Company Vocabulary Learning
The Legend of Zelda Storytelling Unit of Work