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Making Computer Science Accessible to ALL Learners

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, June 23, 12:00–1:00 pm
Location: Ballroom A: Level 3 (access from escalators in Registration area in Grand Hall on Level 2)

Dr. Leigh Ann DeLyser   Joshua Elder   Todd Lash  
When talking about the ALL in CSforALL we need to include students with disabilities, physical and cognitive. In this session we discuss the types of accessibility issues when planning or selecting curriculum, share some resources, and provide a framework you can use with teachers to plan for students with disabilities.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Computer science and computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using a variety of research-based, learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment tools to address the diverse needs and interests of all students.
For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Computer Science education is rapidly expanding in schools, even ISTE is launching CS standards for ALL teachers. Yet one critical population often gets left behind in the discussion of "all" - students with disabilities. This session will discuss the physical and cognitive difficulties faced by students with computer science content, and engage attendees in a rich discussion of how to plan for inclusion, rather than react to exclusion. The session will include data from the CSforALL Accessibility pledge (built with Accessibility researchers and advocates) as well as a co-presenter, Todd Lash, whose research is on students with cognitive disabilities in computer science classes at the elementary school level.


Introduction and Framing (5 minutes)
Defining Accessibility - Who needs access and why (10 min)
-- In this interactive segment, facilitators and participants will engage in a discussion of what students are left behind due to accessibility issues.

Resources for Accessibility (10 min)
-- CSforALL will share data from the Accessibility Pledge and a new member search tool that allows teachers to find accessible content.

Planning for Accessibility (20 min)
-- participants will be introduced to a planning guide that will help them consider the needs of students with disabilities in their planning, and think through various forms of scaffolds to support all learners in different types of CS activities (unplugged, online puzzle based curriculum, and open ended problem solving environments)

Recap and Summary (10 min)
-- Presenters will facilitate a discussion with the room about what they learned, how they would use the tools presented, and what tools are still needed.

Supporting research

Federal Legislation that includes guidance on accessible educational materials:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Rehabilitation Act of 1973

When referring to accessibility standards please refer to the following:
Section 508 Standards
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Materials.

Additional Resources
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in S&E
Section 508 IT Accessibility Program
UN Enable
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
The Universal Design For Learning Guidelines
Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT)
Google Accessibility
Microsoft Accessibility
Apple Accessibility
Teaching All Computational Thinking through Inclusion and Collaboration website
Quorum programming language

All links available on

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person photo
Joshua Elder, CSforALL
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Todd Lash, Creative Technology Research Lab, UIUC

Todd Lash is currently a doctoral student in Special Education (UIUC) and a research associate at the Creative Technology Research Lab (University of Florida). Todd’s research interests include increasing the equity in and access to high-quality computer science education for all students. He studies the integration of computer science into K-5 curricula, instructional strategies that address challenges faced by struggling learners in CSed and how Universal Design For Learning (UDL) may be used as a way to engage all learners. Previously, Todd served as a K-5 educator for 17 years and worked as a research associate at the CSforALL Consortium.

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