Embracing Technology to Empower Students with Special Needs

(Grades K-12) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 140T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC42374


Course Description

Do you have students with diverse learning needs and disabilities? Are you looking for ways to use technology to empower your special needs students? This online course begins with a discussion on the critical role technology plays in special education and how teachers must break the cycle of inaccessibility students with special needs face. Differentiated instruction and Universal Design for Learning are explored as teaching strategies for meeting the various needs of students. Teachers will learn about digital accessibility and be provided with many practical strategies for creating accessible learning materials. From there, teachers are provided with various technology tools that can be used to support students with challenges in verbal expression, communication, written expression, reading comprehension, math, and executive function. Teachers will also learn how to create a sensory-friendly environment for students with sensory processing disorder as well as learn about strategies and tools for teaching social-emotional learning to students with special needs. Finally, teachers are provided with tips for keeping students safe online and tools for promoting digital citizenship. By the end of the course, teachers will have a deep understanding of how to create accessible classroom content and become more familiar with technology tools to empower students with special needs. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"I received a lot of useful content through the readings and practicing with the apps and websites presented. I am now using Wakelet, Edpuzzle, and have improved my instructional strategies with these resources." - Dianna DeCaro

Enrollment Options

Course Only

$124

Course with Credit from UCSD

$329

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UCSD.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Click here to view the course syllabus.

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UCSD Course Number: EDUC42374
Unit One
  • Technology, Open Educational Resources, and Breaking the Cycle of Inaccessibility
  • Differentiated Instruction and UDL
  • Creating a Culture of Inclusivity with Technology’s Help
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Making Classroom Content Accessible
  • Evaluating Classroom Content for Accessibility
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • What is Assistive Technology?
  • Technology to Improve Verbal Expression
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Apps and Devices
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Technology to Improve Reading Comprehension
  • Technology to Support Written Expression
  • Technology to Support Students with Math Challenges
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Technology to Improve Executive Functioning
  • Technology to Support Learning New Information & Practicing Cognitive Skills
  • Creating a Sensory Friendly Classroom
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Bringing Social Emotional Learning into Your Inclusive Classroom
  • How Virtual Reality Supports Students with Special Needs
  • Keeping Students Safe Online
  • Assignment #4: Modify a lesson using the POUR principles and write a reflection
  • Assignment #5: Course Reflection

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