Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Exceptional Student Education

First Advisor's Name

Kyle D. Bennett

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Linda Blanton

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Patricia M. Barbetta

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joan Wynne

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


alternating treatments, secondary social studies instruction, interactive notebook, mobile devices, specific learning disabilites, active student responding

Date of Defense



Students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) typically learn less history content than their peers without disabilities and show fewer learning gains. Even when they are provided with the same instructional strategies, many students with SLD struggle to grasp complex historical concepts and content area vocabulary. Many strategies involving technology have been used in the past to enhance learning for students with SLD in history classrooms. However, very few studies have explored the effectiveness of emerging mobile technology in K-12 history classrooms.

This study investigated the effects of mobile devices (iPads) as an active student response (ASR) system on the acquisition of U.S. history content of middle school students with SLD. An alternating treatments single subject design was used to compare the effects of two interventions. There were two conditions and a series of pretest probesin this study. The conditions were: (a) direct instruction and studying from handwritten notes using the interactive notebook strategy and (b) direct instruction and studying using the Quizlet App on the iPad. There were three dependent variables in this study: (a) percent correct on tests, (b) rate of correct responses per minute, and (c) rate of errors per minute.

A comparative analysis suggested that both interventions (studying from interactive notes and studying using Quizlet on the iPad) had varying degrees of effectiveness in increasing the learning gains of students with SLD. In most cases, both interventions were equally effective. During both interventions, all of the participants increased their percentage correct and increased their rate of correct responses. Most of the participants decreased their rate of errors.

The results of this study suggest that teachers of students with SLD should consider a post lesson review in the form of mobile devices as an ASR system or studying from handwritten notes paired with existing evidence-based practices to facilitate students’ knowledge in U.S. history. Future research should focus on the use of other interactive applications on various mobile operating platforms, on other social studies subjects, and should explore various testing formats such as oral question-answer and multiple choice.



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