Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using a Multicomponent Multimedia Shared Story Intervention with an iPad to Teach Content Picture Vocabulary to Students with Developmental Disabilities

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using a Multicomponent Multimedia Shared Story Intervention with an iPad to Teach Content Picture Vocabulary to Students with Developmental Disabilities

Article excerpt


With the increased use of iPads in classrooms, special education teachers need methods for preparing students with developmental disabilities to access and use this technology for a variety of academic purposes. This study used a multiple probe design to examine a multicomponent multimedia shared story (MSS) intervention via an iPad to teach science vocabulary to three elementary students with developmental disabilities. The shared stories, delivered via an iPad, included photographs, text, and videos to purposefully support generalization of vocabulary. Furthermore, pre and post measures were taken to determine student gains in digital literacy skills through modeling without explicit instructions. Results demonstrated that all three students met the criterion for identifying picture vocabulary and maintained and generalized their vocabulary knowledge across other stimuli. Students also showed mastery of digital literacy skills. Implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: developmental disability, technology, iPad, vocabulary, multimedia shared story


Mobile devices such as iPads are often used to enhance instruction for students with developmental disabilities. Researchers have reported that these devices can be highly engaging, promote attentiveness, and are easily adapted to differentiate instruction. In addition, mobile devices are less stigmatizing compared to other forms of assistive technology, and provide easy access due to their portability and features (Doenyas, Simdi, Ozcan, Cataltepe, & Birkan, 2014; Kagohara et al., 2013, O'Malley, Lewis, & Donehower, 2013). The increased use of mobile devices for both instruction and assessment highlights the need for all students to attain digital literacy skills. Standards set forth by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2014) suggest that students should be able to use technology to collaborate with peers, solve problems, and select appropriate technologies for suitable applications. In addition, many students with developmental disabilities who participate in national alternate assessments (e.g., Dynamic Learning Maps, 2014; National Center and State Collaborative, 2014) will need to be competent with technology to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through the assessments' online components.

Research has demonstrated that students with developmental disabilities can be taught to use mobile devices, though much of the focus has been on teaching functional content (e.g., communication, employment, leisure, transition skills; Kagohara et al., 2013). More recent studies have evaluated mobile technology as a part of academic instruction for similar populations. Smith, Spooner, and Wood (2013) examined the effects of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in combination with explicit instruction on the acquisition of science terms for students with autism and intellectual disability. The researchers used a single subject multiple probe design across participants to evaluate the effects of the intervention, which utilized Keynote, an iOS slide software, to present interactive instructional slides to teach selected science terms with an iPad. Results demonstrated a functional relation between the CAI and an increase in correct responses for all participants. In another study, Creech-Galloway, Collins, Knight, and Bausch (2013) used a multiple probe design across participants to evaluate the efficacy of a simultaneous prompting (SP) procedure to teach the Pythagorean Theorem, via a video presentation on an iPad. Four students with intellectual disability participated in the study. Of the four participants, three were able to successfully meet criteria (i.e., 100% across three consecutive sessions), illustrating the effectiveness of the intervention. Finally, Rivera, Mason, Moser, and Ahlgrim-Delzell (2014) used a multimedia shared story (MSS) iPad intervention to help a young English language learner increase expressive picture vocabulary in both English and Spanish. …

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