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Build a Personal Learning Backpack to Give ALL Learners Voice & Choice

Location: Hyatt Regency Burnham

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYODex

Tuesday, June 26, 4:45–6:15 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Burnham

Kathleen McClaskey   Dr. Luis Perez   Diana Petschauer  
Empower learners with voice and choice! In this session, learn how to build a Personal Learning Backpack with tools, apps and strategies that can create a culture that values every learner and harnesses the power of learner agency by giving voice and choice for every learner to own their learning.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Google account
Presenters will send a list of apps and online tools to BYOD participants at least 2 weeks prior to the session at ISTE.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this BYODex session is for participants to learn how to give voice and choice to learners by building a Personal Learning Backpack that includes tool, apps and skills needed to support and own their learning.

At the conclusion of this BYODex session, participants will be able to:
- Create a simplified Learner Profile of a learner that they know using the UDL Lens to identify strengths, challenges, preferences and needs.
- Using the Learner Profile, explore and identify tools and apps that can give learners’ voice and choice in how they access and process information, engage with content and express what they know.
- Build a Personal Learning Backpack with a learner that includes a set of tools, technologies, skills and strategies.

Proposal Summary

The UDL lens of Access, Engage and Express provides an in-depth picture and information about the learner and how they learn that we do not acquire through testing data. The Learner Profile asks the learner to identify their strengths, challenges, preferences and needs in accessing and processing information, engaging with content and expressing what they know and understand. The next step is giving the learner voice and choice in how they can access, engage and express.

In this interactive session, participants will experience a variety of tools, technologies and apps that can give voice and choice to learners in how they may prefer or need to:
access and process information,
engage with content, and
express what they know and understand.

With this information from the Learner Profile (LP), the next step is to build a Personal Learning Backpack (PLB). Stations will be setup for participants to explore the variety of tools that can provide voice and choice in the areas of Access, Engage and Express. Participants will identify what tools, apps or resources that can support the learner in the LP they created and consider the learning strategies and skills their learner would need to become more independent and self-directed.

In an actual learning environment, the PLB is where the teacher and learner pull together ideas for resources, tools, apps, and learning strategies and skills to support learning. Here are some examples:

Graphic organizer
(e.g., Popplet, LucidChart)
Text to Speech
(e.g. Speak Selection/Speak Screen, Voice Dream Reader)
Learning Strategies/Skills: I need to understand instructions using a graphic organizer or use drawing tools on the whiteboard to collaborate with others and I use text to speech as a support for decoding as I read.

Collaboration/Building Community
(e.g. Mentimeter, Recap, Google Docs)
Learning Strategies/Skills:I learn best when I am collaborating with others and getting timely feedback on my progress from both my teacher and peers.

(e.g., Dragon Dictation)
Book Authoring Tool
(e.g., Book Creator)
Learning Strategies/Skills: I learn best when I am collaborating with others and getting timely feedback on my progress from both my teacher and peers.

Participants will share out the Access, Engage and Express tools and skills that would provide voice and choice for their learner in a shared Google Doc


Prior to the the BYODex session, invite participants to read about the UDL Lens and then have them download the Learner Profile template in Google Docs that they can complete and bring to the session.

I. Introductions and Session Goals (5 minutes)
1. Our goals for the BYOD session
2. Have participants indicate in what their goals are for this session

II. Review the UDL Lens of Access, Engage and Express and the Learner Profile (10 minutes)
1. Pair - Share: What did you discover about the learner that you used for the Learner Profile that you did not see before?

III. Hands on experience with a variety of tools, technologies and apps that can give voice and choice for learners in how they may prefer or need to:
1. access and process information,
2. engage with content, and
3. express what they know and understand. (30 minutes)

IV. Build the Personal Learning Backpack (PLB) with Voice and Choice (30 minutes)
1. Review a challenge under Access in the Learner Profile; model the skill and tool that could support that challenge or strength and give voice and choice to the learner.
2. Participants locate an Access challenge or strength and begin building the backpack with tools and skills the learner would need to become an independent learner
3. Repeat A and B for Engage and Express
4. Participants share out the tools and skills for their learner as time allows plus share in a Google Doc

V. Introduce how to take the PLB for learners to develop learning goals to support their learning (10 minutes)

VI. Review and reflect on their personal goal; point to evaluations (5 minutes)

Supporting research

Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2015). Make Learning Personal: The What, Who, WOW, Where, and Why. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2017). How to Personalize Learning: A Practice Guide for Getting Started and Going Deeper. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Clarke, J., & Frazer, E. (2003). Making learning personal: Educational practices that work. In J. DiMartino, J. Clarke, & D. Wolk (Eds.), Personalized learning: Preparing high school students to create their futures (pp. 174–193). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

McClaskey, K. (2015, October 15). Personalize Learning: Discover the learner in every child.

Meyer, A., Rose, D. H., & Gordon, D. (2014). Universal design for learning: Theory and practice. Wakefield, MA: CAST Professional Publishing.

Perez, L. (2013.). Mobile Learning for All: Supporting Accessibility With the iPad. Corwin Press.

Closing the Gap Solutions, 2017, Petschauer & Hall, Supporting Learners with Dyslexia: Technology and Intervention CAN Play Nice!
Webinars, Workshops, Presentations: AT, UDL

Personalize learning: Access, engage, and express: The lens for teaching and learning. (2014, December 14).

The Website of Luis Perez.

The website of Kathleen McClaskey;

More [+]


Kathleen McClaskey, Make Learning Personal

Kathleen McClaskey (@khmmc) is Founder of Make Learning Personal and co-author of bestsellers Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning. She is an innovative leader, education technologist, international speaker, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) consultant with over 30 years experience in creating learner-centered environments. She is passionate in empowering learners with tools, skills and learning strategies so they become independent self-directed learners, learners with agency, who are future ready for college, career and life. Follow Kathleen at and learn how UDL can be used to achieve educational equity, learner agency and self-advocacy for all learners.

Dr. Luis Perez, National AEM Center, CAST

Luis Perez, Ph. D., is a technical assistance specialist at the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials at CAST. He is the incoming president of the ISTE Inclusive Learning Network and has published two books on inclusive learning and technology: Dive into UDL (ISTE, 2018) and Learning on the Go (CAST Publishing, 2018). Luis has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator and as a Google in Education Certified Innovator.

Diana Petschauer, AT for Education

Diana Petschauer, M.Ed., ATP is a certified Assistive Technology Professional, Consultant & founder of AT for Education,, and Access4Employment. Over 20 years of experience in Assistive Technology, UDL & Ed Tech: K-12, Post-Secondary & Adult services. She presents & trains nationally & internationally. Diana is a faculty trainer for as well as Diana is the 2nd Vice Chair on the executive committee for the Professional Standards Board for RESNA. She travels daily to provide Evaluations, Consultation,& Training for students & adults. Diana manages her team of consultants who provide Accessibility services to access education, the workplace & community.

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