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College of Education

Don McMahon




Don McMahon

Assistant Professor
Special education
Pullman campus
Cleveland hall 341
pullman, WA  99164


Curriculum Vitae

ResearchGate Profile

Twitter @macddm  


Research Interests

Dr McMahon’s work is focused on Universal Design for Learning, Assistive Technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Wearable devices, Mobile Devices, Mobile Learning, and Instructional technology.

At WSU Don McMahon coordinates the Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab.  Don is also the Cofounder of the WSU ROAR postsecondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Don graduated from the Special Education Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.   While at the University of Tennessee Don was on the program staff of a postsecondary education program similar to ROAR where he designed and taught courses in digital citizenship for students with disabilities.

Don was a special education teacher for 7 years and then became an instructional Co-teaching coach for general education and special education teachers.  Don is a national presenter providing professional development sessions for both general educators and special educators on using mobile devices in education.  Don attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Universal Design for Learning Summer Institute in 2010.  Don’s work has been featured in invited podcasts, television and print features, and invited presentations.


Interview with Motherboard Magazine on Augmented Reality in Education



McMahon, D.D, Barrio, B. L., McMahon, A. K., Tutt, K., & Firestone, J., (in press) Virtual reality exercise bike intervention for high school students with intellectual/developmental disability.  Journal of Special Education Technology.  Accepted 12/11/2018

Smith, C. C., Cihak, D. F., McMahon, D. D., & Coleman, M. B. (in press). Examining digital messaging applications for postsecondary students with intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology

McMahon, D. D., (2018).  Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality: Connecting Emerging Technologies to the UDL Framework. In Gardner, J. E., & 2018 International Summit Proceedings UDL-IRN.

McMahon, A. K., & McMahon, D., (2018). Using a wearable EEG to promote mindfulness in an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. In Beck, Dennis; Pena-Rios, Anasol; Ogle, Todd; Allison, Colin; Morgado, Leonel; Pirker, Johanna; Richter, Jonathon; Gutl, Christian (Ed.): Online Proc. from Fourth Immersive Learn. Res. Netw. Conf., pp. 2–3, Technischen Universitat Graz, Missoula, Montana, 2018. DOI:

Walker, Z., McMahon, D., & Rosenblatt, K. (2017).  Beyond Pokémon: Augmented Reality Is a Universal Design for Learning Tool.  Sage Open.

Cihak, D.F., Musacchio, M.M., Kim, B., McMahon, D.D., Wright, R., Gibbons, M.M. Gordon, J., & Bardo, J. (2017).  Evaluating self-instruction using YouTube to acquire and generalize vocational skills for college students with intellectual disability. Division on Autism and Developmental Disability Online Journal. 4(1), 92-109.

Scheef, A. R., Barrio, B. L., Poppen, M. I., McMahon, D., & Miller, D. (2017). Exploring barriers for facilitating work experience opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in post-secondary education programs. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.

Howorth, S.K., Cihak, D.F., & McMahon, D. (2017). Effects of explicit instruction on fidelity of teacher candidates’ creation of trigger-based-video models. Journal of Evidence-Based Practices for Schools. 17(1)

Smith, C. C., Cihak, D. F., Kim, B., McMahon, D. D., & Wright, R. (2016). Examining augmented reality to improved navigation skills in postsecondary students with intellectual disability. Journal of Special Education Technology. 1-9 DOI: 10.1177/0162643416681159

McMahon, A. K., & McMahon, D., (2016). Exercise technology interventions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A systematic review. Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities Online Journal. 3 (1) p. 42-53

Cihak, D. F., Moore, E., Wright, R., McMahon, D.D., Gibbons, M.M., & Smith, C. (2016). Evaluating augmented reality to complete a chain task for elementary students with autism. Journal of Special Education Technology. 31, 2, 99-108 DOI: 10.1177/016264341665172

McMahon, D., Cihak, D. F., Wright, R.E., & Bell, S. M., (2016) Augmented reality for teaching science vocabulary to postsecondary education students with intellectual disabilities and autism.  Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 48 (1), 38-56.  DOI: 10.1080/15391523.2015.1103149

McMahon, D., Wright, R., Cihak, D.F., Moore, T.C., & Lamb, R., (2015). Podcasts on mobile devices as a read aloud testing accommodation in secondary science assessment. Journal Science Education and Technology. Published online first November 9, 2015. DOI: 10.1007/s10956-015-9591-3

McMahon, D., Cihak, D. F., & Wright, R.E. (2015). Augmented reality as a navigation tool to employment opportunities for postsecondary education students with intellectual disabilities and autism.  Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 47 (3), 157-172. DOI: 10.1.80/15391523.2015.1047698

McMahon, D., Smith, C., Cihak, D.F., Wright, R.,& Gibbons, M. (2015). Effects of digital navigation aids on adults with intellectual disabilities: Comparison of paper map, Google Maps, and augmented reality.  Journal of Special Education Technology. 30 (3), 157-165. DOI: 10.1177/0162643415618927

Cihak, D.F., McMahon, D., Smith, C.C., Wright, R., & Gibbons, M.M. (2015). Teaching individuals with intellectual disabilities to email across multiple device platforms. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 36 (3), 645-656.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.10.044

Cihak, D. F., Wright, R., Smith, C., C., McMahon, D., & Kraiss, K. (2015). Incorporating functional digital literacy skills as part of the curriculum for high school students with intellectual disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. 50(2), 155–171.

McMahon, D., & Walker, Z., (2014). Universal design for learning features and tools on iPads and iPhones. Journal of Special Education Technology29 (2), 39-49

McMahon, D, Cihak, D.F, Gibbons, M., Fussell, L., and Mathison, S. (2013). Using a mobile app to teach individuals with intellectual disabilities to identify potential food allergies.  Journal of Special Education Technology.  28 (3), 21-32.

McMahon, D. & Smith, C. S. (2012). Universal design for learning: Implications and applications in UT Knoxville FUTURE Program. Think College Insight Brief, Issue No. 14. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Cihak, D.F, Kildare, L., Smith, C., McMahon, D.D., & Quinn-Brown, L. (2012). Using video Social Stories™ to increase task engagement for middle schools students with autism spectrum disorders. Behavior Modification, 36, 399-425.

Book Chapters

Cihak, D.F., Smith, C.C., McMahon, D., & Ramsey, J. (2014). Using video modeling in conducting research with young children. In O.N. Saracho (Ed.), Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education II. Charlotte, NC:  Information Age Publishing Inc.

McMahon, D., (2015). Augmented Reality Learning Games.. In R. Lamb & D. McMahon (Eds.), Educational and Learning Games: New Research. New York :  Nova Publishing Inc.

Rosenblatt, K., Walker, Z., & McMahon, D. (2015). Understanding the impact and importance of educational games for students with disabilities. In R. Lamb & D. McMahon (Eds.), Educational and Learning Games: New Research. New York :  Nova Publishing Inc.


Walker, Z,. Rosenblatt, K., McMahon, D., (2015). Teaching the Last Backpack Generation: A Mobile Technology Handbook for Secondary Educators. Corwin Publishers. California.

Washington State University