Award Date

August 2018

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

Jeff Shih

Number of Pages



A sustained trend in the overall enrollment in the United States has seen classrooms reflect more student diversity. This diversity has included increased rates of participation in general education classrooms from both students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and students with disabilities. While the increase in student diversity in general education classrooms is certainly a positive step in increasing inclusive education, shifting student demographics have presented teachers with new and evolving instructional challenges. The diverse academic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds students represent also come to characterize the unique learning needs teachers should address. This is particularly true in science, where recommendations and evidenced-based practices differ for different student populations (i.e., students with disabilities, students learning English). As technology has become more mobile (e.g., personal computers, tablets) teachers are increasingly able to provide individualized instruction and supplement traditional classroom instruction with technology. While there is great potential for technology-based tools to provide flexible and personalized instruction that addresses the diverse learning needs of students, there are little empirical investigations that describe specific ways students interact with technology to learn. To support the development of sound instructional technology, research that describes specific design elements and their impact on student learning is needed. This study aimed to compare teacher-led and technology-based instructional interventions designed to teach students academic vocabulary in inclusive science classrooms. The vocabulary instruction delivered in the study was delivered by teacher-led instruction (TLI) or personalized mobile instruction (PMI) and oriented around specific inquiry assignments. Additionally, student and teacher perceptions of these interventions were collected through surveys. The results of this study suggest that teacher-led interventions that utilize evidence-based practices and personalized learning tools that are well designed can have similar impact developing students’ depth of vocabulary knowledge. Additionally, teacher and student perceptions of the helpfulness and impact on student learning did not differ between treatment groups, though teachers rated the interventions as more helpful and impactful for students’ depth of vocabulary knowledge.


Students with Disabilities; Technology; Universal Design for Learning


Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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