Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Education

Special Education

WSU ROAR Q&A Session

This event will take place on Zoom. See information below for how to attend.

Important Note: Both internal and external WSU meeting attendees must be signed into Zoom to join the meeting.

Please refer to this guide on Joining WSU Zoom Meetings before trying to join the meeting:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android:

Meeting ID: 372 300 4588


Join from WSU Conference Room System (Polycom)
1. Using the touch panel, or remote control, select ‘Place a Call’
2. Enter the IP Address including periods:
3. Press the pound key twice ‘##’
4. Enter the Meeting ID: 372 300 4588
5. Press ‘Call’
Join from Conference Room System with SIP

Share Screen/Content Wirelessly
Go to and enter Meeting ID: 372 300 4588

Phone Call (long distance)
+1 253 215 8782
+12532158782,,3723004588# US (One Tap Mobile Call)

Find your international phone number:

For technical support with WSU conference rooms, contact your local IT team

For support or feature requests, please go to


WSU ROAR (Responsibility Opportunity Advocacy and Respect) is a two-year inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

WSU ROAR Information Session

To receive the link for this information session, please register below. This information will help us to better prepare for the session. On the confirmation screen, write down all the Zoom info given.

WSU ROAR Information Session

To receive the link for this information session, please register below. This information will help us to better prepare for the session. On the confirmation screen, write down all the Zoom info given.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

virtual reality

The future of educational technology

Virtual reality and augmented reality. It’s a two-headed beast, set to be a $5 BILLION (with a B) industry by 2021 and almost $12 billion industry by 2025. How does that fit into education?

The college’s research on the two is taking place at WSU Pullman and WSU Tri-Cities


Don McMahon runs WSU’s Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab. It’s main focus is to create and test next generation assistive technology interventions. This includes refining the use of existing tools, such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Murrow News 8 produced this video by reporter Kyla Emme:

The lab is high-tech. Much of the technology used in this lab was formerly part of the Neurocognitive Lab. Here’s a video from the Daily Evergreen:

Assistive Tech Lab website

Healthcare applications

Virtual and augmented reality have healthcare applications, as well. Yes, many of them deal with very serious things. But it can also just help with patient anxiety.

Young girl with VR headset on.

Read article about young Sydney Reese McMahon’s trip to the doctor and how VR helped.


Jonah Firestone runs WSU Tri-Cities’ Simulation and Integrated Media for Instruction Assessment and Neurocognition Site. For the sake of everyone, we just call it by its acronym: SIMIAN. This lab is similar to its counterpart in Pullman: research how to use technology to help students learn.

Jonah recently joined the Education Eclipse podcast to talk about the lab:

Professor researching virtual & augmented reality for special education

July 20, 2017 – By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Jonah Firestone, an education professor at Washington State University Tri-Cities, knows that technology is the future of education, which is why he is researching the use of virtual and augmented reality as tools for not only the general classroom, but specifically with special education in the kindergarten through 12th-grade setting.

“With regular video games, you’re looking at a flat screen,” he said. “But with virtual reality, you wear a head set and you can look all around. It’s a 360-degree view up and down and you can see this complete world around you. As kids get more used to using this type of technology and as the price goes down, schools are going to start adopting these because you can now send an entire classroom on a field trip to The Louvre without leaving the classroom.”

Firestone said for subjects like science and history, teachers rely on textbook and stationary images to give students a picture of what they’re talking about as it is expensive to take students to laboratories and settings that are referenced in those lessons. With virtual and augmented reality, however, teachers can bring those settings and projects to the students in the virtual sphere.

“We can use this technology to put children and adults into complete virtual worlds where they can be a cell in the human body, or students can do experiments in physics and chemistry that they couldn’t normally safely do in the classroom setting,” he said. “You can then repeat those over and over again.”

Overcoming learning disabilities

Firestone said virtual and augmented reality have different purposes, but both can be applied as additional tools in the classroom, which could help students who struggle with traditional learning methods.

“We used to talk about this thing called learning theories where certain people were characterized as different types of learners, but that’s not really true,” he said. “We all learn in a variety of different ways. But with the more modes in which we learn, whether it be oral, visual or tactile, the more we’re readily going to learn.”

Some students may have problems processing information that is given to them orally, or students may have visual disabilities where they have difficulty processing static information like documents with lots of text, he said. Students also may have issues holding their attention for an extended period of time.

“So what virtual and augmented reality do is reinforce learning in ways that helps from a variety of different vectors,” he said. “And realistically, strategies used in special education are good practices for any education setting. We can translate what we learn about these tools into the general classroom setting, as well.”

With virtual reality, students wear a head set where it provides them with a complete 360-degree view of a setting or project that the students can interact with. With augmented reality, students use a device like a tablet or a headset where the device projects an image into the real-world setting. Firestone said a good example of augmented reality is Pokemon Go, where the image of a Pokemon is projected through a screen into the real world.

“We’ve all taken classes where we’ve aced the class, but we have no idea what we’ve learned,” he said. “What we want to accomplish with virtual and augmented reality is a more organic method of learning. This organic method of learning is accomplished through learning by doing.”

Research results so far

Firestone worked with Don McMahon on the WSU Pullman campus to run a study with special education students at the college level who studied bones and skeletons using augmented reality with the help of iPad Minis. They compared what the students learned and absorbed with augmented reality to what they learned and observed from textbooks and the team got great results.

Firestone is now taking that research a step further by applying the same tools to kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms.

“College kids are great, but I am very much interested in how these technologies can be applied to the k-12 setting,” he said. “What we’re currently doing is taking this same process and we’re modifying it for fifth-graders. Then, we’re going to modify it for middle school and high school.”

Firestone said he is using augmented reality to supplement different school lessons, including science where students observe and learn about the human body.

“Imagine looking at a picture of a femur, but with augmented reality, not only do you see a picture of a femur, but it has a voice that defines it for you and then shows you where it is on the human body,” he said.

Firestone is also looking into using virtual reality to immerse the kindergarten through 12th-grade students in an underwater experience called “The Blue.”

“It’s an underwater application where you see whales and you’re in a reef,” he said. “I’m then comparing that to the same information that the students glean from a text.”

Firestone said he’s had great results with the technology so far and that blending the virtual experiences with what students are presented with in a textbook is a winning combination.

“There is no one magic solution for learning, but the more things we can put together, the more kids are going to end up learning,” he said.

SIMIAN website

College of Education Graduate School Information Session

Free info is great. But free fried chicken with that info? Even better!

WSU’s College of Education will answer questions for potential graduate students at its annual Fall Graduate Preview Day.

Thursday, November 1, 2018.
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cleveland Hall Room 70

It is open to anyone interested in a career in teaching, educational psychology, sport management, educational leadership, or exploring issues of culture and power in education.

Participants will learn about these programs, the application process, financial aid, scholarships and assistantships, will be able to meet faculty members, etc.

Also, yes, free food. Participants will be able to eat lunch with current graduate students and ask them questions.

To reserve a seat and receive an agenda, email or call 509-335-7016.

After School Special

Jeff and Vicki Gordon, along with WSU’s College of Education, invite you to our 4th annual “After School Special.” We want to celebrate your hard work and another successful school year!

Please join us for a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception as you mingle with teachers, educators, COE grads, and Cougar enthusiasts.

Please feel free to add Cougar alumni and local educators to this event through our Facebook event page:

RSVP to Sara Kinser by June 1, 2016, at 509.335.8880 or

Agents of Change Application

  • To express interest in participating as an Agent of Change, please fill out the following application.

  • BRIEFLY, using plain talk (PLEASE!), explain what your research is about (enough for someone to understand, but not so much that it takes you a long time to write it up).

  • FYI, the female shirts are a true female cut and they run really small, like... smaller than you'd think. Females may choose a men's shirt if they'd like.


It’s our passion to make a difference that drives us!

Although we often celebrate and recognize the past, if you are someone who wants to make sure the present and future are even better, and are currently working toward that goal, then you’re an “agent of change.”

Introducing, our college’s Agents of Change campaign!

Goal: Showcase our amazing people like you, whether your faculty, staff, students, alumni… or just a supporter of our college and the work we’re doing.

Why: Because our folks rock! We want to highlight you and the reason you do what you do.

How: We’re going to showcase you through photos, video, blog posts, etc! We’ll put them online, and on social media with the hashtag #AgentsOfChange and hope you’ll share these, as well.

Wanna share why you’re an Agent of Change?
1Register to be an Agent of Change
2Script a 30-second statement about what makes you an agent of change. Sit down with our Marketing and Communications team to record this.
3Agree to do some form of communication that would better connect you to students and alumni and help push your work out. This can be a blog, being a podcast guest, etc. You can use Marketing and Communications to come up with a plan that plays to your strengths.
4Social mediacize the content all over the place (is "mediacize" a word?)! Use the hashtag #AgentsOfChange.
5After your post, if you're in Pullman, come get a cool T-shirt that says #AgentsOfChange on it. If you're not in the area, email us your address so we can send one to you!

For questions, please email Brandon Chapman.

Marcus Poppen


Marcus Poppen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Special Education
Pullman Campus
Cleveland Hall 358
Pullman, WA  99164


Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Dr. Poppen’s research and scholarship is broadly focused on supporting career development and transition outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. His interests include understanding the unique paths of career development for youth and young adults with disabilities, including those involved in the juvenile justice system, foster care system, and/or living with mental health concerns; collaborative school-based transition programs that are designed to facilitate the coordination and delivery of pre-employment transition services; and, program evaluation and capacity building efforts that support data-based decision making.

Teaching and Professional Interests

Dr. Poppen’s teaching interests are in Special Education. His professional interests include program evaluation, research, and implementation sciences.

Selected Publications

  • Poppen, M., & Alverson, C. (2018) Policies and practice: A review of legislation affecting transition services for individuals with disabilities. In B. Hughes, C. Johnson & B. Taga (Eds.). New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, Support and Transitions for Adults with Special Needs, 2018 (160), 63-76.
  • Scheef, A., Barrio, B., Poppen, M., McMahon, D., & Miller, D. (2018). Exploring barriers for facilitating work experience opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in post-secondary education programs. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.
  • Poppen, M., Lindstrom, L., Unruh, D., Khurana, A., & Bullis, M. (2017). Preparing youth with disabilities for employment: An analysis of vocational rehabilitation case services data. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 46, 209-224. doi:10.3233/JVR-160857
  • Lind, J., Poppen, M., & Murray, C. (2017). An intervention to promote positive teacher-student relationships and self-determination among adolescents with emotional disturbance. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 40, 186-191.
  • Scheef, A., Barrio, B., & Poppen, M. (2017). Developing partnerships with businesses to support job training for youth with disabilities in Singapore. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 40, 156-164.
  • Mazzotti, V.I, Rowe, D. A., Sinclair, J., Poppen, M., & Woods, W. (November 2016). Predictors of post-school success: A systematic review of NLTS-2 secondary analyses. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 38, 196-215.
  • Poppen, M., Sinclair, J., Hirano, K., Lindstrom, L., & Unruh, D. (May 2016). Perceptions of mental health concerns for secondary students with disabilities during transition to adulthood. Education and Treatment of Children, 39, 221-241.
  • Lindstrom, L., Harwick, R., Poppen, M., & Doren, B. (2012) Gender gaps: Career development for young women with disabilities, Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35(2), 108-117.

Education Background

  • Ph.D., Special Education, University of Oregon (2014)
  • M.S., Special Education, University of Oregon (2012)
  • B.A., Family and Human Services, University of Oregon (2007)

Transition Services Self-Assessment Tool (TSAT)

Special Education Faculty

Special Education Program Faculty

Lauren Bruno, PhD
Improving transition outcome for youth with disabilities.

Michael Dunn, PhD
Literacy skills /strategies to assist struggling readers and writers; and response to intervention.

Yun-Ju Hsiao, PhD
Autism spectrum disorders; families of students with disabilities; and evidence-based practices.

Donald McMahon, PhD
Universal Design for Learning (UDL); mobile devices; and augmented reality as an assistive technology for students with disabilities.

Darcy Miller, PhD
Special education policies and law; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; teacher preparation; and behavior/emotional disorders.

Sara Petersen, JD
Special education law; and teaching students requiring intensive educational supports.

Marcus Poppen, PhD
Behavioral and mental health; juvenile delinquency; family and human services; secondary special education; and transition.

Holly Whittenburg, PhD
Improving employment outcomes for transition-aged students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability.

Affiliate Faculty:

June Canty