A WebQuest for Future Teachers

Designed by Tricia Moore, Kristen Moorhead and Kathy Stemmler








According to recent figures published by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), between the years 1997-1998, approximately 5.5 million students, ages six to twenty-one, received some form of special education. Of these, almost .20 displayed speech or language impairments and .053 displayed visual impairments. The webquest you are about to engage in will direct prospective teachers such as yourselves to assistive technology resources that are available for your students with Speech, Reading or Visual special needs. Assistive Technology, according to the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1998, is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”.

Intended Outcomes

Increased access to assistive technology and special education resources.

Enhanced understanding of stake-holders' issues and roles in the assistive technology decision-making process.

Increased knowledge of the types of available assistive technology.


This webquest was designed to help future educators learn more about the use of assisted technology in education. The quest is focused around three type of disabilities: Visual, Reading and Speech.  By the end of this lesson, you and your group after considering each of the roles, will determine which assistive technology solution is best for the particular type of disability you have selected. You will then give reasons for the selection. You will break up into groups of three and you and your group will choose to research one of the following categories of Speech, Reading or Visual Impairments:

  1. Read the scenario and research all sides of the issue.
  2. Share research and reach a group consensus.
  3. Create and present the group recommendations according to the directions given for each category.





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  Meet your new 3rd grade student Darla. Darla has an Individual Education Program from her previous school because she has cerebral palsy.  She has been diagnosed with athetoid CP and with moderate hemiplegia.  Because the left side of her body is primarily affected, she uses a walker.  With the aid of the walker, she can maintain movement similar to a typical third grader.  Her parents moved her to your school because they were not satisfied with the communication and accommodations made at her previous school.  As a result of poor muscle control on her left side, she has dysarthria.  Although she can form words, she is difficult to understand.  Her parents can understand her, but few others are able to communicate with her.  Through diagnostic testing, it has been determined that Darla does not have any learning disabilities and that her vocabulary is above that of the average 3rd grader.  Unfortunately with the picture board she was provided at her previous school, her ability to communicate to the extent she is capable was limited.   Darla’s parents would like Darla to have a more comprehensive augmentative and alternative communication tools and techniques to reduce her limitations.  This was prevented by the multidisciplinary team at her previous school who felt that Darla’s speech could be improved using low tech. augmentative communication to encourage her to improve her natural speech. 

Cammy has difficulty with visual processing. She misspells words, leaves out words, and has difficulty making sense of what she reads. She must read things over and over to understand the content. She even has difficulty reading back what she has written herself. You will be having Cammy in your college level course next semester. The course is required for her major and is currently offered in a web-based format. She has just informed you that she is “dyslexic” and is very apprehensive about the online course.

  My 19 year old son Neil, was the victim of a fire several weeks ago in San Francisco. As he was running down the stairs, he was struck in the head by falling debris. One of the firemen was able to free him, and he was taken to the hospital where he was treated. He was diagnosed with  DVI or Neurological Visual Impairment. The category of the impairment is termed Cortical Visual Impairment. The doctors think it could be temporary but no one is absolutely sure. Only time will tell. Neil is attending the university and was taking three web classes before his injury.  Neither, Neil, his father or myself know where to start. Who do we contact to let them know that Neil will need technological assistance to complete these courses? What type of technological assistance will he need? What do we need to provide at home for him? What are the laws?



























You and your group's performance will be evaluated according to the evaluation rubric.


Credits & References

     Turnbull, R., Turnbull, A., Shank, M. Smith, S. Dorothy, L. 2002. Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools. Upper Saddle River:N.J. Merrill Prentice Hall, http://www.prenhall.com/turnbull.

     Nicole Kramer, Northern Arizona University, College of Education, Institute of Human Development.

     Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1998

     Jesse Stemmler, a survivor.


Last updated on (4/02/03). Based on a template from The Recommendation WebQuest Page