Technology to Increase Accessibility
What does this mean:
The use of technological tools, from low-tech to high-tech, offers educators flexible ways to implement the 3 principles of UDL thus moving away from more traditional fixed media of speech, text and image. Many students utilize Assistive Technology (AT) devices to navigate, access and engage with all aspects of their course and course materials.
Why is this important:
Technology expands options and flexibility, reduces barriers, and engages students. The use of technological tools (both software and hardware), expand instructional options to represent the content and design of curriculum, while addressing the needs of a broad range of learners and reducing barriers in course competency acquisition. In addition to creating distinct paths for students to engage, understand and express course content, the use of technology can be compelling to the modern tech-savvy student demographic. Technology offers clear advantages for instructors, too. Although it may take longer to prepare course materials initially, they can then be easily modified from semester to semester.
How is this achieved:
The use of technology in today’s post-secondary learning environments is vast and ranges in the degree of technological intensity required.
Here are a few practical examples:
- Providing course materials in accessible electronic documents to give all students the option of creating study materials they can manipulate by enlarging, highlighting, copying/pasting and making notes.
- The creation of short ‘how-to’ videos to demonstrate complex manipulations of materials allows students to access instruction that can be used in the field.
- Encouraging the use of laptops to increase learner engagement during class, and facilitate note taking.
Is the Use of Assistive Technology Fair?
The use of assistive technology tools is sometimes perceived as giving an unfair advantage to those learners who use them. In fact, these tools provide some learners with their sole means of accessing course material and course content, of engaging with the material, and of expressing course competencies in ways that match their abilities.
- Adaptech Research Network – Free and Inexpensive Software
- iOS apps Supporting – Reading/Writing Challenges
- iNov8 – Apps for College and University Students
- UDL Universe – Mobile Technology and Apps
- UDL Tech Toolkit
- CSU – Using Technology to Foster UDL
- What teachers need to know – Text-to-Speech in the Class
See practical examples of UDL implementation: UDL in Action.