Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Matthew E. Davis, PhD

Second Reader

Zoee Bartholomew, PhD


This research explored the impact that technology has on students with special needs, some of whom are English Language Learners (ELL). Previous studies have found that technology brings “inclusion in the classroom helps meet the students' needs and improves academic success” (Lowrey et al., 2017). Literature has also shown the value of including students and ensuring that students understand how they learn best (Brown et al.,1998). This research was conducted at an elementary school in Northern California, and included eight students with special needs, two of whom were English Language Learners. Three district personnel were also interviewed. The students' participation focused on empowering them to co-create lessons amongst themselves and exploring the use of technology to learn and then teach a lesson to the class. The findings from the research showed that technology created a “fun” and inclusive environment that facilitated self-learning. It also brought awareness to the students' knowledge and creativity of submitting assignments, that students could recognize multiple ways for completing work. This research has important implications toward the types of professional development and video tutorials that districts could offer teachers to help them learn new technology programs to support students with learning disabilities and who may be classified as language learners. In addition, the findings provide support to increase funding for technology, including iPads and Apple pencils, to support equity, inclusion, and the realities of learning climates for all students.

IRB Number


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