The central theme of my research is the utilization of a variety of technologies with special populations: mature adults, elementary school children at the 4th and 5th grade levels, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the primary grades. Technology is a pervasive tool that makes a variety of things possible: improved productivity, greater connectivity, communication, and shared collaboration. I have been actively involved in teaching learners with and about technology and its uses for organizational purposes (concept maps, advanced organizers), discovery (WebQuests, virtual libraries), research (effective search strategies on the web, specialized databases, and reference works), and communication (blogs, chats, packet switching networks). I have also taught users programming, software evaluation, and tools that are classified as applications software (MS Office for Windows, MS Works, C++, NeuralWare Professional II Plus, and others). Technology utilization is the successful application of tools to help users become more effective accomplishing work for both personal and professional use.
I have served more than 10 terms as a reviewer for the premier journal in my field, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, and my work in my profession earned me an Inspire by Example Award through the International Society for Technology in Education. I have spent a considerable amount of time working with young children with ASD, and interviewing their parents about their struggles and challenges. With more than 300 interviews and hands-on work with children in the Autism Spectrum, I feel that I have a unique perspective of the disorder as well as strategies for using technology to mitigate some of the challenges autistic learners face.
I wrote an Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Cluster Proposal and served as the PI. The grant was innovative, and my efforts in this area made it possible for me to receive funding for the Technology and Applied Research in Autism Laboratory. The TARA Lab is a functional space where children can come and use various forms of technology and interact socially. Over the course of my career, I have delivered more than 70 professional presentations and produced more than 30 publications.