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Universal Design for Learning• An educational approach to teaching, learning, and assessment, based on research and new media technologies to respond to individual learner differences.• It is not about access to information but access to learning. It is a framework for teaching.• Key concept of UDL is that it is designed from the beginning and not added later on.
Learning Disabilities• They are real.• It is not the same thing as mental retardation or autism.• These disabilities affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store, respond to, and communicate information.• They affect people differently, range from mild to severe and can be diagnosed early or later in life.
College Students with Learning Disabilities• Most college professors fail to realize that students with learning disabilities need assistive technology in the classroom because their disability is invisible.• Examples of students with learning disabilities: – Student diagnosed as AD/HD or dyslexia – Difficulty interpreting auditory or visual information – Difficulty organizing ideas or remember math facts and calculation
Assistive Technology• Any tool or device that can improve the functional capabilities of individuals with physical disabilities; vision and hearing impairments; communication barriers; or cognitive impairments.• Assistive Technology does not replace UDL.• In the college setting, Assistive Technology refers to products or devices that can assist students with disabilities (invisible or visible) with their educational activities and independence.
Assistive Technology in College• To determine the most appropriate AT device, consider the following: – Individual – The tasks needed to be performed – The technology – The setting where the technology will be used• A recent Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Summary of Performance (SOP) can help college administrators determine the student’s ability in the classroom.
AT Devices: Text in Alternative Format• SARA (Scanning and Reading Appliance) • Independent piece of hardware that scans printed material, such as books and magazines, etc., and reads it aloud to the user.• Bookshare.org • Obtain e-text versions of books and journal articles• Kurzweil 3000 • Reads text aloud in human speech and allows text navigation
AT Devices: Note taking• Livescribe – A smartpen that captures words, audio, scribbles, symbols and diagrams, transferring notes and records to a Mac or PC.• QuickLink Pen • Collect scanned text for later retrieval by computer
AT Devices: Speech to Text• Dragon Naturally Speaking – Converts your speech into typed text through the use of a headphone microphone.• MetroPlex Voice Computing – Type and graph correctly formatted math equations• iListen – Software program for Mac users that converts speech to text
AT Devices: Organization• Inspiration – Visual/graphic representation of idea with capability to switch between text and graphic versions• Smartphone calendar – Organize and keep track of numbers, schedule, reminders for test and assignments
Tips for selecting AT devices• How user-friendly is the AT tool? – Instructions should be brief and easy to read• What is the quality of its visual display and auditory output? – It should be easy to see and hear• How reliable is it? – Ask other students and staff members how well the product works or read product reviews posted online.• What technical support is available? – This is helpful in case you experience technical issues in the evening when campus offices are closed.
Resources• National Center for Learning Disabilities: http://www.ncld.org/• Association on Higher Education and Disability: http://www.ahead.org/• Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/