Teaching Students with Special Needs Using Google Workspace for Education and Related Products geared toward maximizing Google Workspace for special needs students
CHELMSFORD, MA (Sept. 20, 2022) – It’s a long title, but Chelmsford High School Librarian and Assistive Technology Specialist John O’Sullivan promises his latest book will transform teaching special needs students.
His self-published, 150-page e-book, Teaching Students with Special Needs Using Google Workspace for Education and Related Products, was released last week.
Mr. O’Sullivan’s book is geared toward teachers that work with special needs students to help them learn all the shortcuts and nuances to make the best use of Google Workspace and provide the best learning experience.
“Assistive Technology is such a small subset of education,” said Mr. O’Sullivan. “Most school districts don’t have an assistive technology specialist. My book is to show teachers how to get all the accessibility features in Google. It is amazing how much assistive technology there is for free. I hope my book helps people learn how to use many of the tools.”
Special education and assistive technology are two areas personal to Mr. O’Sullivan, who holds two master’s degrees, a master’s certificate and five state education certifications.
He was among the first special needs students in the U.S.
Mr. O’Sullivan was in kindergarten in Manhasset, N.Y., in 1976 right after the U.S. passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 (renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004). The original law that started special education secured funding for educating students with special needs and ensured all children, regardless of differences, had free access to public school education.
“I was one of the first special needs students in the country,” Mr. O’Sullivan said. “That was my motivation in becoming a teacher. I just saw it as a real way to make a difference for students.”
Mr. O’Sullivan remembers the first years of the special education system, which he said needed significant improvement. Today, he is amazed at the technology and resources available to special needs students and is driven to show educators how to make the most of technology in the classroom.
“I get to see things I never expected to see in my lifetime every day at work,” he said. “When I come to work, I see technology that helps students. It means a lot because I’ve seen the field grow from zero. I give students what I never had. It’s very rewarding for me. It’s only because I’ve been through (special education) that I realize how valuable an education is for special needs students.”
Mr. O’Sullivan is a renowned speaker on educational and assistive technology issues at conferences and workshops such as the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE), Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA), and the Assistive Technology Conference of New England (ATCNE).
A native of Manhasset, N.Y., Mr. O’Sullivan earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Long Island University-C.W. Post. He returned to C.W. Post to achieve his Master of Science in special education. He later earned a Master of Education with a concentration in curriculum and technology from Framingham State University.
Mr. O’Sullivan also holds a Master’s Certificate in web development from Clark University, as well as state certifications in Supervisor/Director, Instructional Technology, Library and Special Needs in Grades Pre-K-5 and 5-12.
Mr. O’Sullivan’s is the author of six previous books, including The UDL Educational Technology Guide: Technology for Special Education (editions from 2017-20) as well as The UDL Educational Technology Guide (editions for 2018 and 2020); The Educational Technology Guide (2018); Teaching Projects with Computers (2012); and the Teachers Awesome App Guide (2011-14).
Mr. O’Sullivan is one of several authors on staff at Chelmsford Public Schools. In August 2021, K-12 Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator Dr. Christy Whittlesey published her second book, The Beginner’s Guide to Being a Trans Ally (Jessica Kingsley Publishers), while Dr. Matthew Beyranevand, K-12 Mathematics Coordinator, published his third book titled Partnering with Parents in Elementary School Math (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).
Mr. O’Sullivan is a resident of Framingham, Mass.
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsfordschools.org.