Technology and Special Education: Where Do We Go from Here? – Life at NJCU

The Covid Pandemic has disrupted the education of all students but has been particularly challenging for students with special needs.  What are the lessons learned regarding technology and special education during this shift to remote learning?  What has technology made more effective or expeditious?  How can technology improve the education and experiences of students with special needs?   What does technology fail to do?  How will technology continue to influence the way education and support services are delivered?   Our goal for this event is to consider new frameworks and innovative approaches for the use of technology in special education.  We have assembled a panel of professionals with expertise and diverse experiences who can begin to answer these questions.  Audience participation will be encouraged throughout, so please bring your ideas and questions. 

The panelists are:

Monica Ahearn, Director of Special Services, Roselle Public Schools

Amy Arsiwala, Ed.D., Instructional Technology Coach at Franklin Township Public Schools

Michelle Lockwood, M.S, Director of Positive Behavior Support Services  for the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE)

Laszlo Pokorny, Ed.D., High School Teacher at Trenton Publish Schools

Wendy Thompson, Ed.D., Teacher at A. Harry Moore School and President of the New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Tracy Amerman and Dr. Christopher Shamburg of the NJCU Educational Technology Department.

To Register or for More Information, contact edtech@njcu.edu 

Full Bios of Panelists:

Monica Ahearn, Director of Special Services, Roselle Public Schools

Ms. Ahearn has worked with classified children and their families as a teacher, LDT-C, and Director of Special Education & Related Services for more than 25 years.  She also consults and assists attorneys and parent/advocacy groups with the preparation of legal cases and the development of up-to-date professional development for district Child Study Teams, the families/guardians of children with special needs, and the various state/county associations of which she is a member.  She continues to pursue and stay informed of recent studies and best practices in the field in order to assist and advocate for the children, families, and communities she represents

Dr. Amy Arsiwala, Instructional Technology Coach at Franklin Township Public Schools

Dr. Amy Arsiwala is an Instructional Technology Coach who supports teachers and staff on integrating technology in their classrooms. She also is an Adjunct Professor for NJCU & Drew University.  She was a former Special Education Math Teacher and currently does AT evaluations for her district. She continues to advocate for students with disabilities and all types of learners by speaking at conferences such as ISTE, NJCEC, NJEA and NJECC.

Michelle Lockwood, M.S, Director of Positive Behavior Support Services for the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE)

Ms. Lockwood has over 20 years of professional experience working with students and individuals in need of behavioral support. Prior to moving to New Jersey and joining the staff of NJCIE in 2007, Michelle was employed as a county-wide behavior support specialist for the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. Presently, she is working in multiple districts throughout New Jersey, providing professional development and technical assistance to school staff in developing schoolwide, classroom, and individual student positive behavior support systems. Michelle also presents workshops to parent groups and facilitates the development of behavior intervention plans for individual students (elementary and secondary).

Dr. Laszlo Pokorny, High School Teacher at Trenton Publish Schools

Dr. Laszlo Pokorny is a teacher of special education science in Trenton’s Ninth Grade Academy. His doctoral dissertation research explored teacher’s perceptions of the impact of gamification on students with difficulty staying on task. He currently holds New Jersey teaching certifications in physics, biology, and students with disabilities, along with supervisor and principal certificates. He regularly presents districtwide workshops on using virtual labs, simulators, and gamified learning technologies to his colleagues in Trenton Public Schools. Laszlo enjoys hiking, camping, skiing, and biking with his sons Mendel and Andrew.

Dr. Wendy Thompson, Teacher at A. Harry Moore School and President of the New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology

Dr. Wendy Thompson has been a SPED classroom teacher for 30 years. She takes pride in her supportive roles of teacher and advocate. She continues to learn from and about individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Multiple Disabilities that are the center of her professional life. Wendy specializes in the integration of instructional technology to educate and support students, staff, and the wider community. Dr. Thompson is the current President of The New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology (www.njcart.net).

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