Date of Award



© 2020 Keisha Tipton

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Catherine Stieg

Third Advisor

Jazmine Brantley


Assistive technology competencies are not always included within the curriculum for teacher candidates. The lack of assistive technology content can result in teachers being unprepared to support the academic and social needs of students with significant disabilities in a general education classroom. Required courses in educator preparation programs for assistive technology have declined over the last decade. The problem addressed in this study was the absence of data about how teacher educators perceive their roles and responsibilities in learning about assistive technology and integrating the necessary competencies into the standard educator preparation curriculum. This interpretive phenomenological analysis study explored the experiences of higher education leaders when providing training to preservice teachers about assistive technology (AT). Two research questions guided this study. One of the questions asked curriculum developers about their lived experiences and beliefs of including assistive technology content into teacher preparation curriculum. The second research question pertained to curriculum developers’ lived experiences and beliefs about preparing teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for collaboration within inclusive schools.

The participants for this study included higher education leaders charged with influence over curriculum development for an educator preparation program. Data were collected using a phenomenological interview protocol to gain an understanding of the meaning participants attribute to experiences with curriculum development for teacher candidates. Five themes transpired from the data analysis, including: 1) lack of knowledge, 2) lack of AT adoption, 3) willingness to innovate, 4) need for collaboration, and 5) established norms/mental models. Several recommendations for the development and improvement of educator preparation curriculum emerged from the findings. Embedding assistive technology into the coursework for teacher candidates is warranted to ensure adequate preparation is acquired for supporting students with significant disabilities in a general education classroom.


Ed.D. Dissertation