ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Creation, Risk-Taking, and Reflection: Inclusive Assistive Technology Makerspaces

Location: Playground B; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Monday, June 25, 12:30–4:00 pm
Location: Playground B; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function

Dr. Cindy Anderson   Sean Arnold   Christopher Bugaj   Helen DeWaard   Jennifer Edge-Savage   Dr. Stacey Forsyth   Dr. Timothy Frey   Kendra Grant   Rhianon Gutierrez   Dr. Shigeru Ikuta   Mindy Johnson   Mike Marotta   Dr. Kathryn Penzkover   Dr. Luis Perez  
When universally designed, Makerspaces can provide all learners with the flexibility they need to engage their creativity, access multiple representations, and practice strategic thinking as they plan, prototype and iterate solutions. Visit our hands-on Maker stations to learn at the intersection of UDL and Design Thinking for all.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None required. Assistive Devices, low-tech materials, software, apps, and other tools will be provided by presenters to provide hands-on exploration and demonstrations. The typical playground layout will provide ample opportunities to provide a flexible learning environment. We hope to provide/showcase examples of flexible seating as well.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Universal design for learning/differentiated learning
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

How do you ensure that your Makerspaces are accessible for
diverse learners? Are you considering accessibility in all areas of the Makerspace, from the design of the learning environment to the materials and tools used to support Makerspace activities and the final products themselves? The purpose for the ILN Playground is to provide ISTE Conference participants with a hands-on professional learning experience in using technology to reduce barriers and increase the accessibility of Makerspaces.

The Playground will seek to equip participants with
awareness of accessibility needs, but more importantly, hands-on
opportunities in creating an accessible Maker experience. This
includes considering Materials, Assessment, Methods and Goals so that all students are deeply engaged in the process as they participate in a Makerspace. Objectives include:
Participants will become familiar with accessible technology-infused
Makerspace projects. Participants will identify technologies that
facilitate learning for diverse learners in Makerspaces. Participants will connect
appropriate ISTE Standards for Students with accessible technology-infused
Makerspace projects Participants with describe key principles of Universal Design for
Learning - providing multiple means of engagement (the "why" of
learning), representation (the "what" of learning), and action and
expression (the "how" of learning). Participants with apply Universal
Design for Learning strategies to promote accessibility in Makerspace activities. Participants will apply the Maker mindset to design AT solutions that benefit diverse learners. Makers will connect with AT users in order to learn about their needs and how the Maker community can support the development of low-cost AT solutions for those who need them.


This playground will have a multiple station layout in which participants
can freely rotate from one station to the next, based on their interests and
learning needs. At each station, ILN members and members of the larger maker community will lead hands-on activities
and demonstrations, sharing research-based and practical strategies and
tools that can be used to engaging Makerspace learning activities for
diverse learners, including learners with disabilities, gifted and talented,
and those with language differences. Participants will leave the playground session
with active experiences in designing Makerspace activities for diverse learners,
exploring accessible creation tools, creating low-tech accessibility
supports, and understanding the steps necessary for ensuring the
accessibility of final projects. As the ILN Playground committee develops
the details of the playground over the next eight months, the specific
activities will be developed and may include: Exploring electrical
connections through the creation of accessible toys, Exploring the concept
of Friction through use of the sphero robot and accessible programming
tools, Constructing low-tech accessibility supports and many others.

Supporting research
workshop_meryl-alper.pdf Hackcess
based_learning_with_an_equity_lens.html Bowser, G., & Zabala, J. (2012)

AIM for Digital equity. Learning & Leading with Technology 39(7), 16-19
Karger, J. & Lazar, J. (2014) Ensuring that students with text-related
disabilities have access to digital learning materials: A Policy discussion.
Perspectives on Lanugage and LIteracy, 40(1), 33-38. AEM: Best practices
for educators and instructors. Retrieved from
instructors.html#.Vgq87c7ffVs National Center on Accessible Educational

Materials at CAST, Inc. (2015)

Lesley STEAM:


UIC Assistive Technology Unit:

Young STEAM Inventors:

BPS Makers:

Pullin, G. (2009). Design Meets Disability. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Resnick, M. (2017). Designing for Wide Walls. Retrieved at:

Klimczak, S. (2014). Dr. Nettrice Gaskins: Recontextualizing the Makerspace & Culturally Responsive Education.
Retrieved at:

Dr. Nettrice Gaskins Blog:

More [+]


Dr. Cindy Anderson, Roosevelt University - Chicago
Sean Arnold, NYC Dept. of Education

Sean is a special educator and STEM Coach who has taught in New York City’s District 75 citywide special needs program since 2005. Despite it being somewhat antithetical to his introverted personality, Sean wants to share his experience and expertise at making learning accessible, inventive, and playful. He presents these ideas at professional development opportunities and conferences to any educational change agents that would hear it. He has the following achievements: NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, SMART Exemplary Educator, BrainPOP and Flocabulary Certified, and a Classcraft and Minecraft Mentor.

Christopher Bugaj, Loudoun County Public Schools

Christopher R. Bugaj is a founding member the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools. Chris is the co‐author of The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools published by the International Society on Technology in Education. Chris hosts The A.T.TIPSCAST (; a multi‐award winning podcast featuring strategies to design educational experiences. Chris is the author of ATEval2Go (, an app for iPad that helps professionals perform technology assessments. His latest book The New Assistive Tech: Making Learning Awesome For All, also published by ISTE, will be available in April of 2018.

Helen DeWaard, Lakehead University

Helen DeWaard teaches digital and media literacy at the Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, Orillia. She has completed a Masters of Educational Technology from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto, OISE. Her passion for teaching and learning with technology stretches back through her career as an elementary school teacher, special education resource teacher and school leader. Her work with digital storytelling, critical digital literacy and teaching with technology connects to global contexts that include digital badges, Virtually Connecting and ISTE Inclusive Learning networks. Twitter @hj_dewaard

Jennifer Edge-Savage, OT/AT Consultant
Dr. Stacey Forsyth, University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Timothy Frey, Doane University
Kendra Grant, Kendra Grant Consulting
Rhianon Gutierrez, Boston Public Schools

Rhianon E. Gutierrez is a learning designer and consultant. Her varied background includes instructional design, media production, and disability advocacy. As a Digital Learning Specialist in the Boston Public Schools, she builds district-wide partnerships around inclusive uses of technology and leads and supports blended professional learning for teachers and school and district leaders. Rhianon has presented nationally at ISTE, MassCUE, ATIA, South by Southwest, and Building Learning Communities and keynoted at the 2016 Scratch Conference. She is the Advocacy Co-Chair and Playground Co-Chair of ISTE’s Inclusive Learning Network and was named a 2018 ISTE Emerging Leader.

Dr. Shigeru Ikuta, Otsuma Womens University
Mike Marotta, ATAC, Disability Rights New Jersey
Dr. Kathryn Penzkover, University of Colorado Boulder
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.

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