Many teachers believe that assistive technology has to cost money, typically a lot of money. They tell me they are afraid to bring up AT at team meetings for that reason. Other teachers tell me that particular software or hardware is available but no one knows how to use it so it just sits in a closet, unused. Sometimes, teachers who were trained to use particular tools or devices have left the district and no one else is interested in learning how to integrate the AT. A common complaint is that the software is too complicated or there are technical issues that prevent implementation.

I hear many more issues but none of this helps our struggling learners. It's time for a change and there is no better time than now with the ubiquitous open source and Web 2.0 tools that are readily available. Change is centered upon
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
which proposes that multiple methods of :
  • Representation
  • Engagement
  • Expression
promote learning for ALL students. Flexibility is embedded within the curriculum. The book, //Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age// available in its entirety at the CAST website, expounds upon these principles and this is a MUST read for all educators. The TES segment of the CAST website offers a number of free resources and supports for educators interested in incorporating UDL principles in their classrooms, including tutorials and interactive activities.
Change is also centered on
tools that are already readily available in the classroom or that are easily accessed by Internet download.

I have assembled a number of free resources that I believe should be on every classroom computer to promote learning for all students based upon principles of UDL. These tools provide improved access and accommodate for learner differences. Additionally, they are fun and engaging!

It's Not About the Tools; It's About the Possibilities by Karen Janowski

To learn more about UDL, check out these resources:

UDL Guidelines (presented using UDL principles)

UDL Lesson Builder

UDL YouTube Channel

Free UDL Tech Toolkit