Award Date

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Second Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Third Committee Member

Tracy Spies

Fourth Committee Member

Michael McCreery

Fifth Committee Member

Lori Candela

Number of Pages



The advent of advanced technologies provides new opportunities for delivering instruction to students with disabilities. Many classrooms have access to mobile devices, such as iPads and Kindles, and educators utilize these devices to differentiate instruction and augment teacher-led instruction. This delivery method, known as blended learning, can create an enriched learning environment where students are exposed to individualized lessons that are self-paced and provide multiple modes of presentation. However, there is little empirical investigation into how students interact with digital devices or what components of online learning directly impact student learning and engagement with the content. In order to design authentic learning experiences that support students with disabilities and provide access to the general education curriculum, it is critical that researchers thoroughly examine the design on digital lessons and how students navigate digital environments. The focus of this study was to investigate how students use mobile devices in a classroom setting and how they interact with academic content delivered in a digital format. The math achievement and engagement of students with disabilities was compared in two conditions - teacher-led math instruction (Traditional Math Instruction, TMI) and instruction delivered on a mobile device (Mobile App Instruction, MAI). Additionally, teacher and student perceptions of math knowledge and engagement were collected for both conditions using surveys. The surveys were administered after the intervention was completed. The results of the study indicate neither instructional method was significantly more effective in increasing the math achievement or the engagement of students with disabilities. Survey data revealed the teacher did not feel one condition was more effective at increasing math achievement or engagement. Data from the student surveys indicated that students in the TMI condition felt they learned more and were more engaged than the students in the MAI condition. Observational data indicated there was no significant difference in engagement for students in the TMI group and the MAI group. Data collected from the online learning platform suggested students easily accessed the lessons and completed embedded activities and questions. However, data from the learning videos indicate students accessed the videos but did not watch them through to completion, and did not answer the embedded questions.


Blended Learning; Computer Applications; Mathematics Instruction; Mobile Technology; Secondary Education; Students with Disabilities


Education | Science and Mathematics Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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