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Assistive Technologies

1.1  Technology and inclusivity models

“UDL”, “Differentiated Instruction”, and “Mainstreaming” have become popular buzzwords in education. These are great concepts, but sometimes turning concepts into practice can be challenging. In this module, we demonstrate how integrating AT (and technology in general) can help you meet these inclusivity goals.

The Ontario Ministry of Education encourages teachers to apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and differentiated instruction to their teaching in order to promote inclusivity.  The table below lists the three primary principles of UDL (as established by the National Center on Universal Design for Learning) and on the right we’ve identified how you can use technology to help you achieve these goals. This list is not exhaustive, but the point is that supporting a student’s use of AT, and even incorporating it in your own lessons, can help you achieve a more inclusive classroom.

Primary Principles of UDL Examples of technology that can put these  principles in place

“Multiple means of representation, to give diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge”

  • Text-to-speech software, talking calculator & audio books that allow the student to access the printed word (or math equations) in an audio format;
  • Visual glossaries & dictionaries that allow students to access the material in a way that suits them best and that serves to reinforce the learning objectives;
  • Mind mapping software to allow students to translate a written chapter into a diagram that they better understand.
“Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners options for demonstrating what they know”
  • Speech-to-text software allow students to complete assignments using their verbal skills;
  • The use of video, animation, photo or podcasting and other alternative formats to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in a non-traditional way;

“Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation”

  • The use of technology to facilitate group work and teacher feedback, such as shared documents, wikis and blogs;
  • Electronic calendars and reminders to promote autonomy and make larger projects more manageable, helping to keep motivation;
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