Reach and Teach All Students: UDL and AT - Part 3

Video Transcript

Hi and thank you for joining us for the webinar on Reach and Teach All Students: Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology Part 3. My name is Jeff McCormick and I am an Administrator for OCALI. Also presenting today’s session is Heather Bridgman, a rehabilitation engineer, Jan Rogers, an occupational therapist and Shawna Benson a former classroom teacher, all three are OCALI regional coaches. OCALI is the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. We serve families, educators and professionals working with students with low incidence disabilities including autism, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments and traumatic brain injury. Our mission is to build state- and system-wide capacity to improve outcomes through leadership, training and professional development, technical assistance, collaboration and technology. Today we will be talking about Universal Design for Learning and the flexible technology for diverse learners. As you view this presentation, you will have the opportunity to learn about and experience some of the features of Universal Design for Learning. Before we begin the session, we would like to provide you with a few tips that will make your experience more rewarding and enjoyable. First, we would like to let you know that your microphones have been muted. We find it best that you do not click outside of the Go-To-Meeting Webinar window during the presentation. If you have any questions about the content of today’s presentation, please use the chat interaction tool located at the right portion of your Go-To-Meetings screen. For all locations that have more than one participant, we are asking that you take a moment right now to count the people watching this presentation. If you are not alone, please use the Chat tool to indicate how many additional people are in your room besides the person who registered. If you are watching alone, there’s no need to chat us. Let’s take a few minutes to review from our previous webinar. 1. What is the goal of Universal Design for Learning? The goal of Universal Design for Learning is to have all students become expert learners. 2. What do universally designed lessons provide to students? Universally designed lessons provide students with multiple ways to express, or show what they know. 3. Why is it important to focus on addressing the limitations of curriculum through Universal Design for Learning? We should shift our focus to the general curriculum and its limitations, specifically addressing how those limitations contribute to the “disabling” of our students. The burden of adaptation should be placed on the curriculum, not the learner. Because most curricula are not adapted to individual differences, we have come to recognize that our curricula, rather than our students, are “disabled”. In the previous webinar we discussed goal setting, lesson planning and assessment. Now we will look closer at implementation of lesson planning using specific instructional methods and materials related to UDL. Once again looking back to the previous webinar we focused on the diversity in our classrooms. Each student in our class is unique and brings a mix of background knowledge, skills, and needs that should impact how we plan to teach. We were encouraged to ask ourselves a very critical question “Can all of your students access the curriculum? When we look at our entire class after pre-assessing them we see that the majority of our students are clustered in the middle section representing grade level readiness, however, we also have students that fall outside of the majority with high or low skill levels. These students could be learners who read at a lower level, students who have already mastered the content for their grade level or students who need specialized tools to complete instructional tasks. All too often we plan and teach to the middle leaving some of our students behind. CLICK The key is to offer more flexibility in instructional methods and materials thus picking up some of the unique needs of our learners prior to their inability to complete tasks successfully. Pre-planning for flexible options in tools, instruction and assessments is what we now know as UDL. The Memletics learning styles inventory is free and available online. You can complete the test online, or download to Microsoft Excel or Adobe PDF format. This is a sample Memletics Learning Styles graph produced by the online test. It allows you to identify student strengths or preferences in the following categories: Solitary, logical, visual, social, physical, aural and verbal. The graph shows one student’s learning preferences as a logical, solitary learner. This learner may prefer to work alone on projects after completing research and may need extra time to think through information for problem-solving. In thinking about the diverse learning needs our students bring to the classroom we need to look at several areas. One facet to our learners is their learning style sometimes referred to as Multiple Intelligence. Learners in your class may prefer artistic, musical or kinesthetic approaches to completing assignments. Thusly we need to offer flexibility (variety) in expression that allows students to show what they know about the content.

As we begin to teach new content, in this case Science, we need to keep in mind the diversity that we have just discussed. Hypothetically let’s say that our new content is related to volcanoes. We could, of course, use text as is traditionally done to gain new information, but in addition to the text we may want to add a lab experiment, an online simulation and a distance learning experience that allows the students to monitor live volcanic activity and chart any changes in landform. (All of these options will support student engagement as well, which we will talk about shortly)
Which teaching strategies will your class need? You may have learners in your class who are linguistic, visual spatial and also possess keen intrapersonal skills so you decide to teach a lesson that offers students a choice between preparing a set of brochures which gives important facts about each of the volcanoes. Or students could create an interesting folk tale explaining how your volcano came to be. Or you may have learners in your class who are musical, kinesthetic and also possess keen interpersonal skills so you decide to offer a lesson that opens with a song about plate tectonics and then you lead into a demonstration experiment where you call a few of your students up for assistance and lastly you host a debate to decide whether or not to start a new community over a fault line in a given state. All of these choices for instruction were made intentionally with the needs of your learners in mind. Had we only offered one of these we would have left some of the learners potentially unengaged. When it comes time for students to express/show what they know flexibility and choice should be preplanned. Going back to the plate boundaries content, we offered students a variety of product options that would allow them to express their new knowledge of the content. We offered work sample opportunities through the development of brochures, a folk tale, an experiment, a debate or online simulation. All of these options could be assessed using a rubric or checklist that measures knowledge of the indicator. In addition students could free write or journal about their plate research and observations. Following data collection (in which a variety of tools could be used) students could choose to produce a rap, poem, piece of artwork, newscast or story in which they could share via authors chair, art exhibit or mock broadcast, to illustrate what they have learned about the three primary types of plate boundaries and how they create different landforms. All of the examples that we have just discussed should create a tangible, measurable outcomes that reflect each student’s knowledge of the indicator. Ongoing assessment and feedback should guide your planning and instruction. Depending on the make-up of your own class you can determine which flexible options you should offer to meet their diverse interests, needs, and abilities.

  • Vygotsky's "zone of proximal development" (ZPD) suggests that learning occurs when there is an appropriate level of challenge and support
  • In classroom learning situations, this means providing learning tasks that are challenging, yet are within reach with supports.
  • Keep in mind that tasks should stretch learners beyond baseline levels collected in pre-instruction data Visualize your own personal encounters in learning situations and think about one where you were bored, inattentive or distracted: Was your inattention due to lack of challenge or inadequate support to understand the content? In either case, you were not learning in your “zone.”
  • In this picture the young boy riding a bicycle illustrates the ZPD. His father is providing the right amount of support for the youngster until he is ready to take off and ride alone. Engagement and motivation are high; challenge is appropriate, and support is just right. All three prerequisites are in place for learning to occur.

Engagement can be at it’s peak when:

  • Choices are offered that meet the learning styles and learning levels of students
  • when students have the prerequisite knowledge and skills to complete assignments and assessments
  • when students have a vested interest in the content/concept because their schema has been tapped
  • and when students have access to choices that allow for various levels of challenge

Now, we will turn our attention to “materials” Given the right tools, all students have an opportunity to achieve at maximum capacity. Students are too often miss-identified because of an inability to adapt to a single tool or method.
The tools we use, should lead students to independence. Tools follow students better than people can. Sometimes the overuse of person centered supports can create prompt dependence in a student who believes their skills and success lie with the person assisting them. This graphic shows an array of tools that can scaffold students. This is just a visual representation of different ways of providing instruction. There are traditional examples, examples of what UDL could look like, and some AT tools. All supporting different ways to deliver instruction.
Traditional classroom materials and media such as books and speech typically come in a “one size” fits all. Written text is confined to the the readers ability to understand and comprehend the text. It also offers no flexibility in the way the content is navigated. The reader is expected to move from top to bottom and left to right to gain the information. Often times it is also difficult to have an understanding of the writer’s emotion and intent when information is written. We have all probably had the experience of receiving an e-mail and responding to the sender only to find out that we misinterpreted the senders tone of communication which was important to the understanding of the message conveyed. Spoken text on the other hand provides us with richness in expression and emotion. When we talk we can add volume to emphasis points or slow our speech to gain attention. However spoken language is transient so after words are spoken they are forever lost unless those receiving the speech have adequate memory to recall what we have said or are able to document in writing our message ( for example note taking).

Think for a minute how these common teaching methods, having students listen to lectures and asking students to read textbooks, might impact struggling students. Specifically think about those students who have attending issues, have difficulty with short term and long term memory, may struggle with reading and writing, are English language learners or have differing learning style preferences. How do our traditional tools impact those students? When media is inflexible it can often creates barriers to learning for all of the students mentioned above and more. Digital technology, for example, provides numerous built-in options for representation and expression of knowledge. It can also be a powerful tool for engagement for some students. Digital technology such as digital text, sounds, images and the world wide web can be adjusted for different student needs.We are now going to talk specifically about digital text.There are many advantages to the use of digital text. Font size and color can be changed, it can be easily converted to audio formats and it can be easily edited. Another advantage of digital text is the ease at which the readability level of the text can be adjusted for students who struggle reading text at grade level. We can be fairly confident that if students struggle decoding or can’t read it, then they can’t understand it, they therefore can’t learn it, they also can’t practice it and finally they can’t implement it. We are now going to look at some tools that can help you determine the readability level of the text of your student’s reading assignments. It might surprise you to find that you may have textbooks that are written at levels that not only exceed the reading level of some students in your class who are struggling readers, but they might also exceed the actual grade level you are teaching. OKAPI is a website that provides the option to cut and paste text that is up to 200 words in length for a readability analysis. This site also has several features that will assist teachers in adjusting the readability of text. The website for OKAPI is noted at the bottom of the slide. You can also check the readability levels of text using MicroSoft Word. You will first need to set up the readability functions in Word. To set up the readability you need to go to the Word menu and in the drop down window select “preferences” When the “preference” window opens select “spelling and grammar”. When the next window opens click in the “show readability statistics” and put a check mark in the check box and then close the window. You will only need to set this up one time and then it will work each time you run the spell check on a document.Now to test the setup. Cut and paste some digital text into a Word document. Now run the spelling and grammar check by selecting it under the “tools” menu. When the spell check is complete it will open a window with the readability statistics. There are many ways to use the readability statistics for both reading and writing activities. You might have students provide a writing sample periodically throughout the school year and run the readability statistics to see if there are positive changes. This would be a good way to do formative assessments of written work. You could also use the readability statistics to encourage students to improve on a single writing assignment. They could do their own self checks and change out sentence lengths and vocabulary to change the readability levels. Finally, the readability levels could assist you when you are adapting and constructing testing and worksheet materials for students to make sure that items are at the correct reading level. These are just a few examples to help you to begin to think creatively about how you might use these in your classroom.

Now that we have set up the readability statistics, let’s look at how we can quickly adjust the reading level of a piece of literature that is in a digital format. You can find digitally formatted literature on a number of websites, but one of my favorite websites is Project Guttenberg. Once you have downloaded the literature text from the website then open the text and cut and paste it into a Word document. You can now begin the process of adjusting the readability level. The readability level can be adjusted by using the AutoSummarize feature of MicroSoft Word. AutoSummarize can be found in the “tools” menu and it can help to pull out the key concepts and reduce irrelevant text. When the AutoSummarize window opens you should select “Create a new document and put the summary there”. Then select the percentage of the original text you would like in the summary. Notice that below the percentage is information on the length of your new summary as well as the length of the original document. After using the AutoSummarize feature you may also want to review the text to replace high syllable words and provide in-text definitions of content specific vocabulary to further help adjust the readability level of the text. Additionally narrowing margins, experimenting with background and text color, word spacing and font size may also impact a student’s reading ease. Once you have run AutoSummarize and made the other adjustments you can run the readability statistics we discussed on the previous slides to see if the text is now within your students reading level. Here is an example of providing the representation of text in a flexibly designed format. These 11th grade students are studying the Harlem Renaissance and have been given the assignment to select and read some poetry by Langston Hughes. While some students in the class may select and read the poem from the literature textbook, other students may read a poem on-line from the website. Still others may prefer to cut and paste the text from the website into an Microsoft Word document. Once the text is in the Word document the text color and background can be changed to colors that may enhance the student’s ability to read the text. As mentioned there are several representations of the poem and each offers unique options to meet various student’s needs. We are now going to look at another example of representation through a video from Teacher Tube. This is a video about the Transcontinental Railway. In this example content related to the transcontinental railway was provided in a video format. In a traditional 7th grade classroom students might learn about the Transcontinental Railway by reading about it in their social studies textbook. If you look at the comment about the video posted by Koolkat it’s clear she needed more assistance in understanding the content than just reading the book. Her comments let us know that this video really connected with the content in her classroom and it provided her with a deeper level of understanding. In her post you can see that she is a struggling writer with many misspelled words and apparent difficulty with the conventions of grammar. One might also wonder if she is also a struggling reader. She states in her post “this video helped me learn a lot and I like it we were learning it in my social studies class so it helped me more so thanks for who ever posted this video” This video could be viewed on-line or it could be downloaded to an iPod for viewing allowing for flexibility in how the video might be used and presented to students

Video MP3 Players offer a variety of options for students and teachers in terms of representation. Text can be converted into an MP3 format and loaded on the device for audio listening. On iPods, the digital text can be added to the lyrics of the MP3 to add visual representation of the text while the audio is played. Video that is relevant to the topic can also be added to the video MP3 player as in the previous example. Students can then choose which means or combination of means of representation best meet their learning needs all in one small portable device. The other thing to keep in mind is that video MP3 players are tools that are typically highly interesting and engaging to most students. They are also a part of their mainstream culture. We are now going to begin talking about tools to help with student expression. When we think about the tools for expression we often think about paper and pencil. Traditionally students have written reports with paper and pencil, take paper and pencil tests and fill in paper worksheets to express what they know. As computers have become more common place students now have available to them a wide range of supports that are a common part of the the computer operating system and software. For those students who struggle with handwriting legibility and speed, keyboarding can often offer a more legible means of expression as well as a quicker form of expression. Additionally studies have shown that students are often times more willing to edit work when it is in a digital format because it is easier to reorganize and make changes. The picture in the slide is showing the word completion feature built into the Mac operating system. This works in most Mac proprietary software. While typing a word depress the escape key and a list of words will be displayed that may represent your completed word. You can select the word from the list to enter into the document. This can be helpful for students who may struggle with mild spelling challenges and word finding. It should be noted that this is NOT as robust or effective as true word prediction software. When we think about the tools for expression we often think about paper and pencil. Traditionally students have written reports with paper and pencil, take paper and pencil tests and fill in paper worksheets to express what they know. As computers have become more common place students now have available to them a wide range of supports that are a common part of the the computer operating system and software. For those students who struggle with handwriting legibility and speed, keyboarding can often offer a more legible means of expression as well as a quicker form of expression. Additionally studies have shown that students are often times more willing to edit work when it is in a digital format because it is easier to reorganize and make changes. The picture in the slide is showing the word completion feature built into the Mac operating system. This works in most Mac proprietary software. While typing a word depress the escape key and a list of words will be displayed that may represent your completed word. You can select the word from the list to enter into the document. This can be helpful for students who may struggle with mild spelling challenges and word finding. It should be noted that this is NOT as robust or effective as true word prediction software. You can also set the Mac system text-to-speech feature so that a student can have the text they produced read back to them. This can help some students to improve their editing skills. Some students are able to hear their errors but when they independently read the passage back without the audio support they are not able to pick out their mistakes. Many schools have building sets of portable word processors. These items may provide another option when the use of classroom computers is not possible. Because they offer great portability it is also possible for these devices to be made available to students in all school environments and they could even go home with students for the completion of homework. Some of these devices have additional features built-in that can support struggling writers such as spell check, word prediction, text-to-speech and writing rubrics. Voice Thread is a tool for having conversations around media such as text, documents, presentations, and video. Others can comment on the media by phone, text, audio file upload, webcam, or microphone. The doodle tool also allows the commenter to point out specific locations on the media while making their comments. There are many ways Voice Thread can be used in educational settings. Here is just one example of a Voice Thread that was created by a third grade class. They were using an art and literature approach called Picture Writing. Students first learned the science behind weather, then created paintings and finally each wrote a poem describing their painting. As you can see students in this example were able to express what they know by uploading their painting and poem. They were also able to read their poems and provide a discussion of their creative process through a voice message. Others were able to provide feedback via voice and text commenting. They were also able to mark on the poem using the doodle tool to circle areas of interest on the painting or poem while they commented. It was interesting to note that the student’s family was able to log into the Voice Thread site. This is just one example of possible uses of Voice Thread. You can find other examples on the Voice Thread website by clicking on the browse tab. Just think of the possibilities for those students who are not able to express their thoughts in writing, but are good at expressing what they know verbally. Voice Thread is free to individual educators. There are classroom and school packages for a small fee that allow student and class access as well as class management tools. The use of common technology tools can sometimes be extended in creative ways to meet the needs of struggling students. In the following example we will see how Power Point was used to assist a student express what he knows. The South Town Star recently published an article about Bob and Cathy Strybel’s sons Matt and Dan who were both diagnosed with autism. The sons had received an award from Infinitec Southwest, the assistive technology program of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago for their use of technology in the classroom. The award ceremony was meant to "celebrate what kids who are differently-abled can do when given the proper tools, While the Strybel’s one son Matt uses a communication device on an iPod to express himself verbally, their other son Dan creates Power Point presentations to help convey his understanding of subject content. His mother states, “…for Dan it's a way to reinforce the subject content,” "He does it in a way that's fun." His proficiency has given him a niche and helped him to relate to other students in the classes in which he is mainstreamed.

"His Power Point presentations make the information more engaging," she said. It is interesting that Dan’s mom identifies engagement as another benefit of using Power Point in addition to helping Dan express what he knows. Many of these tools can help with representation, expression and engagement. It really just depends on how you choose to use the tool. We are now going to begin to talk about other tools to encourage student engagement. As we mentioned in previous sections of this webinar student engagement can be impacted by many things but probably one of the key components of engagement is to find high interest activities and topics. Some students are highly interested in comics. This is a website called Make Beliefs Comix. Students can create their own comic strips using cartoon characters as well as speech and thought bubbles to create dialog. This site was created by Bill Zimmerman who for 13 years created an interactive, syndicated Student Briefing Page for Newsday newspaper to teach young people about current events. At Newsday, Bill also created a series of comic books to teach history and current events to young readers. Since launching Make Beliefs Comix site in late 2006, many of the users have been educators who use the site with students to encourage writing, reading and literacy, and the learning of English. The example above shows an activity where students created comic strips with characters discussing classroom rules. The comics could be printed and combined to create a comic book of classroom rules for all students and to also give to new students. What a fun and interesting way for students to learn about and reference the classroom rules.
Here is a website that offers an alternative way to create and learn about various academic content areas in an interesting way. Animoto is a website that automatically makes your photos, video and music into a video representation or video collage. Here is an example of a video collage created with Animoto. In the example on the slide, after reading the Autobiography of Lincoln, 8th grade students could enter video and pictures taken from the internet and text they created to make a video collage of the life and times of Lincoln. Each student’s video would be unique and could provide a significant amount of engagement among the students not only in creating the videos but also in viewing one another’s products. A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners engage with comes from the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University with other contributors. Webquests usually have distinctive parts, are comprised of student learning groups with various student roles and are based on web resources. Because of these characteristics Webquests can be extrememly accessible for students with various learning needs and they can also be very engaging because of the wide range of choices that are often offered within the Webquest. provides a portal for a number of Webquest search engines so you can find Webquests that are already created and ready to use. You can also create your own Webquest from this site.

We are now going to wrap up the discussion of tools, by showing an example of representation, expression and engagement for one content standard indicator. Referring back to one of the 4th grade Language Arts indicators from our second webinar, let’s examine this flexible objective and discuss tools that will support this goal. In this example, our students must be able to summarize information and pull out important information from a text of their choosing. As we consider UDL tools for this standard, we will focus on tools that might be readily available in the classroom. Providing access to these tools will increase access for many. To provide multiple means of representation, our teacher could obtain electronic versions of the reading materials through Bookshare or Project Gutenberg. This will allow those with reading difficulties to listen to electronic versions of the reading material with free text-to-speech programs such as ReadPlease or NaturalReader. Another support that could be provided by the teacher would be access to the reading materials at a lower reading level as previously discussed. To provide multiple means of expression, access to a video recorder and Microsoft PowerPoint could be provided. The student could use these tools to express their understanding of the text by producing a video or creating a PowerPoint show highlighting the important events and characters. To increase engagement, students could be given a choice of several different reading materials and they might choose which group they will participate in due to the reading topic or the level of reading materials. Once the groups have been established, the students could work independently or in teams to create an outline of the main events of the book. A useful tool for this activity is the free on-line webbing tool “MyWebspiration”. This on-line graphic organizer allows students to collaborate on an outline and organize information through webbing diagrams. It is also engaging because students can include graphic representations of the characters or main events. Finally to wrap up this section we are going to look at a couple of websites to provide you with a wide-range of tools and resources for implementing UDL as well as to help you find engaging activities connected to the Ohio Academic Content Standards. The Ohio Treasure Chest of Technology Resources is a website created and maintained by the North Canton City Schools. It is an online collection of thousands of websites which are high-quality, teacher-reviewed, interactive, and free. Each website is aligned directly to the Ohio Academic Content Standards in math, science, language arts, and social studies. You can search by content area, …..grade level, and indicator for interesting and engaging activities. In the example above we are showing a 5th grade math activity in the number, number sense and operations area, indicator # 3. If you notice there is a number 17 to the left of the 3rd indicator. If you click on the number it will open a window with 17 links to activities related to that indicator. I selected one of the activities from the list called Interaction Fraction Four. This is just one example of the the types of activities you might find. This particular activity is a timed game for two players to reduce or simplify fractions. The game is played on the computer but like the game Connect Four. This website provides a large number of links for all types of UDL resources. The UDL Toolkit is an online resource for free materials that can assist a teacher who is implementing UDL. There are links to tools for graphic organization, literacy, study skills, research, math, writing, “multimedia and digital story telling”, text-to-speech, speech to text, collaboration and many other resources. The site is maintained by Karen Janowski an assistive and educational technology consultant and EdTech Solutions-Teaching Every Student blogger and Joyce Kasman Valenza a library information specialist at Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, Pennsylvania. Heather is now going to discuss assistive technology and how it relates to UDL. Hopefully you are feeling pretty comfortable with the concept of universal design for learning by now so let’s take some time to discuss the differences between UDL and assistive technology. Some students will need more help than what is available with UDL. Many of the supports mentioned thus far will be beneficial to a wide variety of learning styles and educational needs of the students in your classroom. But there will still be times when supports that are available for all are not enough for the intense, specific needs of some. For example, let’s take a closer look at Paula’s learning characteristics. Paula is legally blind. Digital text will be helpful to Paula, but she will also need a screen reader to navigate the computer system. The screen reader will allow her to utilize the keyboard for navigation rather than a computer mouse. It will also read all of the text on a page including pull-down menus, hyperlinks and text descriptions of images on a webpage. In addition to a screen reader, Paula will require all of the curricular materials to be converted to Braille or to a digital format. Paula is the only student in the class that will require these extensive supports and therefore we can consider the screen reader and Braille materials to be assistive technology supports.So which tools are assistive technology tools and which are tools for UDL? The answer lies in how the equipment and tools are being used. If it is a support provided to all students in a proactive manner when the curriculum was being designed, it is safe to say the tool is a UDL tool. However, if it is provided to just one student to meet their specific needs beyond that which universal design is able to provide, then it can be considered assistive technology. Sometimes a particular tool could be considered assistive technology and sometimes the same tool could be considered UDL. If you watched the first webinar in this series, you met Roger. Roger is a fourth-grade student who required the support of text-to-speech and word prediction to compensate for his reading and writing difficulties. However, when the school noticed how beneficial the software was – they implemented it across all 4th grade computers providing it as a tool for all. Now the text-to-speech and word prediction tools that were once used as assistive technology for Roger – are now universal design tools that are provided to all students. Sometimes tools that are thought of as assistive technology could be utilized by everyone and therefore are considered UDL tools. Think about calculators, digital text and voice recognition. These are examples of tools that are not only beneficial for the one student with specific needs, but useful for everyone. We’ve made the point that many tools could be considered AT and UDL depending on how they are used, but let’s consider tools that are typically used as assistive technology. AT tools are used for a broad range of needs from daily living activities, to mobility, seating and positioning, recreation and curriculum access. There are so many activities that go on in the school environment where AT tools are necessary. The next few slides show a range of low-tech, mid-tech and high-tech AT tools. Notice the wide range of low-tech AT options such as magnifiers, pencil grips, visual schedules and lined paper to assist with curricular access, but also button hooks and elastic shoe laces for self-care, adapted puzzles, an adapted toy car and a bowling ball ramp for recreation and a versa-form cushion and wiggle seat cushion for positioning. Here we show a variety of mid-tech AT tools. Pictured are specialty calculators such as the talking calculator and the coin-u-lator along with talking symbols to assist with schedules throughout the day. These are tools for curriculum access. You will also notice a mid-tech communication device, switch-operated scissors, and a stander for self-care and positioning needs. In the area of daily living skills, we have a switch operated blender and a switch operated measuring cup. For recreation, there are switch operated toys and a switch operated spinner to interact with board games. These are a few examples of mid-tech assistive technology tools that you might encounter in the school environment. And here we have high-tech assistive technology tools. Pictured are communication devices, voice recognition, reading and writing software, a page turner and an expanded keyboard for curriculum access. We also show the Cooper Car which is a switch activated toy car for recreation purposes. And for self-care, a switch operated feeder. These examples are here to show tools that are typically used for very specific needs. They are not typically used as UDL tools. As we near the end of this presentation, let’s review some of the concepts we have been talking about during our three-part series on UDL and assistive technology. In the first column we see representations of our impression of traditional instruction. Students are listening to lectures, taking notes, reading textbooks and the teacher is providing notes, problems or diagrams on a chalkboard. In the middle column we have a small representation of universal design for learning tools. These are tools that could easily be provided to all of our students and use of these tools would level the playing field for some with learning difficulties or others who require additional background information or more engaging activities to stay focused. Pictured are an iPod on which we can provide .mp3 recordings of lectures or embed videos about specific topics. The green box with purple text is representing the fact that with digital text, we can modify its appearance by changing the background or text color. We can also enlarge the text, add spaces, or summarize the information. Finally, we have some assistive technology suggestions. These are tools that are typically used by individual students. Shown here are communication devices, switches for mouse access, screen enlargers, an adaptive keyboard and word prediction. Armed with this information – we would like you try to put it to use through this voting activity. We will show a variety of tools and then you will have the opportunity to vote on whether it is typically considered a tool for assistive technology, universal design for learning or traditional instruction. First we have a picture of a textbook. Would you consider this traditional instruction, universal design for learning or assistive technology? I see that most of you agree that a textbook would be considered traditional instruction. Don’t worry – it get’s more difficult!
Be sure to visit to view all of our resources. Check out our lending library of books and DVDs online and make use of our free delivery and pick-up of materials. Please review our UDL area of the website and books on the topic. Have a look at our assistive technology information and training materials, particularly the comprehensive AT Resource Guide, which can be downloaded as a PDF document. This webcast and others are archived on our site and can be viewed at any time. Thanks for joining us for the webinar titled Reach and Teach All Students: Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology. We hope you enjoyed the presentation and discovered some new teaching ideas and resources that you can implement right away in your school to support the students you serve. Don’t forget to explore the CAST website for many more resources related to UDL. Those resources can be found at Thanks again for learning with OCALI. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, contact your regional OCALI Coach at

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Assistive technology (AT) can increase access to the curriculum for students with disabilities. This final segment demonstrates the use of AT within the UDL structure in specific content areas. Case examples are used to guide learners through the use of AT and continued conversation about UDL.

Reach and Teach All Students: UDL and AT

Previous: Reach and Teach All Students: UDL and AT - Part 2