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Graduate Defense: Brad Garrison

April 3 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm MDT

square graphic which says "Dissertation Defense"Dissertation Information

Title: Investigating The Relationship Between K-12 Online Special Education Teachers’ Tpack And Teacher Level Variables: A Convergent Design Mixed-Methods Study

Program: Doctor of Education in Educational Technology

Advisor: Dr. Andy Hung, Educational Technology

Committee Members: Dr. Kerry Rice, Educational Technology, and Dr. Chareen Snelson, Educational Technology


K-12 students with disabilities in the United States are increasingly enrolling in online schools and educational programs. Therefore, K-12 online public and charter school special education (SpecEd) teachers must be prepared to develop and implement individualized educational plans (IEPs) that meet the procedural and substantive requirements of federal and state SpecEd law. Currently, the research literature is lacking in descriptions of instructional techniques and interventions that K-12 online special education teachers (SETs) are implementing in their practice. To address this need, this convergent design mixed-methods study made use of the Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework in order to (1) measure the self-assessed TPACK of a sample of K-12 online SETs working at online secondary schools in the United States using a validated survey instrument, (2) investigate the relationship between teacher level predictor variables (age, online teaching experience, education level, and certification status) and the criterion variable of teachers’ TPACK using hierarchical multiple regression techniques, (3) analyze participants qualitative responses to a researcher created questionnaire to locate evidence of participants’ applied TPACK in their self-reported online teaching practices, and (4) look for evidence of convergence and/or divergence between the quantitative and qualitative findings. Standard multiple regression analyses led to the identification of 5 significant regression models, with criterion variables of (1) mean TPCK, (2) mean TPK, (3) mean TCK, (4) mean PCK, and (5) mean TK. Qualitative data analysis yielded evidence that participants applied TPACK significantly impacted their practice, including through the implementation of 21 out of 22 HLPs. The qualitative data suggested that TPK and PK were factors that most informed participants’ reported online teaching practices. However, little evidence was found for participants’ use of explicit instructional techniques, and several other important HLPs. Additionally, no qualitative evidence was found indicating participants’ use of FBAs and/or development of behavior support plans for students. Mixed methods analysis yielded 2 convergent findings related to (1) a possible negative relationship between participant age and TK, and (2) strong estimations of participant PK. 2 divergent findings related to asymmetries observed between (1) participants’ relatively low self-reported TPK, and the large amount of qualitative evidence suggesting the application of participant TPK in their online teaching practice, and (2) participants’ relatively high self-reported CK, and the lack of qualitative evidence indicating the direct application of participant CK in practice.