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Washington State University
College of Education

Special Education

Research Conversation

We love research. And conversation. Now they’re combined.

We’re not the first folks to engage in dialogue about our research endeavors. We just perfected it!

A handful of times each semester, we give some time to a faculty to share their research with the rest of us. These one-hour (max!) sessions are always very compelling.

October 12, 2022 — 12:00-1:00 p.m. PDT

Lauren Bruno and Holly Whittenburg

Supporting the Successful Transition of Students with Disabilities from School to Adult Life Through Policy & Practice

Drs. Lauren Bruno and Holly Whittenburg will present their research on two individual projects related to the transition from school to adult life for students with disabilities. They will then discuss how their two lines of research converge and the work they do together. There will be time for discussion.

Dr. Bruno’s research focuses on improving transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. More specifically, she focuses on (1) improving the preparation of pre-service and in-service educators’ ability to implement evidence-based practices related to transition; (2) using the Universal Design for Learning framework (including assistive technology) to improve post-school outcomes of youth with disabilities; and (3) post-secondary educational opportunities for youth with intellectual and development disabilities. Lauren also focuses on the shortage and high attrition rates of special educators.

Dr. Whittenburg’s research focuses on improving employment outcomes for transition-aged students on the autism spectrum and students with intellectual disability. Her recent research examines interventions to teach employment-related skills, approaches to creating opportunities for inclusive work experiences, and how special education and vocational rehabilitation law and policies affect the transition experiences of students with disabilities.

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 995 1714 1295
Passcode: 148604

WSU ROAR Tours

Be a tourist!

You’ve heard all about WSU ROAR. Now is your chance to see it.

The WSU ROAR program is pleased to offer a robust tour experience to those who may be interested – or have a loved on interested – in attending WSU and being a ROAR student.

The tour dates are:

  • September 23
  • October 21
  • November 18
  • December 09

Here’s what the tour will include:

  • Meet WSU ROAR staff & students
  • Visit the ROAR space
  • Attend a ROAR-specific course
  • Receive ROAR information and learn about the program
  • Ask questions to ROAR staff

If interested in a tour, please let us know by filing out this form.

Attend tour >>

WSU ROAR Tours

Be a tourist!

You’ve heard all about WSU ROAR. Now is your chance to see it.

The WSU ROAR program is pleased to offer a robust tour experience to those who may be interested – or have a loved on interested – in attending WSU and being a ROAR student.

The tour dates are:

  • September 23
  • October 21
  • November 18
  • December 09

Here’s what the tour will include:

  • Meet WSU ROAR staff & students
  • Visit the ROAR space
  • Attend a ROAR-specific course
  • Receive ROAR information and learn about the program
  • Ask questions to ROAR staff

If interested in a tour, please let us know by filing out this form.

Attend tour >>

WSU ROAR Tours

Be a tourist!

You’ve heard all about WSU ROAR. Now is your chance to see it.

The WSU ROAR program is pleased to offer a robust tour experience to those who may be interested – or have a loved on interested – in attending WSU and being a ROAR student.

The tour dates are:

  • September 23
  • October 21
  • November 18
  • December 09

Here’s what the tour will include:

  • Meet WSU ROAR staff & students
  • Visit the ROAR space
  • Attend a ROAR-specific course
  • Receive ROAR information and learn about the program
  • Ask questions to ROAR staff

If interested in a tour, please let us know by filing out this form.

Attend tour >>

WSU ROAR Tours

Be a tourist!

You’ve heard all about WSU ROAR. Now is your chance to see it.

The WSU ROAR program is pleased to offer a robust tour experience to those who may be interested – or have a loved on interested – in attending WSU and being a ROAR student.

The tour dates are:

  • September 23
  • October 21
  • November 18
  • December 09

Here’s what the tour will include:

  • Meet WSU ROAR staff & students
  • Visit the ROAR space
  • Attend a ROAR-specific course
  • Receive ROAR information and learn about the program
  • Ask questions to ROAR staff

If interested in a tour, please let us know by filing out this form.

Attend tour >>

WTP/MEGI Summer Transition Institute

WTP/MEGI Summer Transition Institute

August 2-4, 2022
Wenatchee Convention Center

The WTP/MEGI Summer Transition Institute will focus on bringing WTP/MEGI participants together to share innovative transition strategies for supporting post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities. We will explore effective practices for building capacity to improve the availability and accessibility of coordinated transition services for students in Washington.

The institute will begin on Tuesday (8/2) at 3pm (check in from 1-3pm) and will end on Thursday (8/4) by 12pm. More details about the agenda will be shared soon.

Questions can be sent to: transitiontool@wsu.edu.

 

Return to WSU RISE

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

Pullman

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.

Tri-Cities

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 gradstudies@wsu.edu 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: https://www.facebook.com/events/1270837586266313.

RSVP to Sara Kinser by June 1, 2016, at 509.335.8880 or skinser@wsu.edu.

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.