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Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Back to School With Free Learning Tools: 5 Steps to Accessible Learning

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Monday, November 30, 12:00–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dana McGee  
Marybeth Sonnier  

Unlock the potential in every student! Learn five quick steps to ensure all students have access to essential curriculum for academic success. Identify and recognize learning differences, provide assistive technology learning tools, and implement strategies to maximize independence and success for every learner.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
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: Microsoft Office 365- if your district does not have Microsoft Office 365-free with a valid school email address. Microsoft Office Lens app for iOS or Android devices Microsoft Seeing AI-only for IOS devices Microsoft Translator-iOS, Android, Windows 10 desktop PowerPoint Desktop App
Topic: Assistive & adaptive technologies
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Special education, ESL
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate to educators how the use of Assistive Technology tools and strategies will meet the learning differences of ALL students. Providing accessible learning for all students can be achieved by utilizing a 5 step approach and the universal design for learning . Discussed in this presentation will be the Free Microsoft Learning Tools, iOS accessibility features, and other digital resources that offer assistive technology supports for learning equity. The presenter will address learning differences like dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, low vision, visual/perceptual issues, deaf/hard of hearing, processing disorders and English Language Learners and how educators can leverage and implement free tools built into many platforms to ensure academic equity and success for all learners.

Participants will
-recognize the need for accessibility
-identify learning differences
-identify methods, strategies and tools for creating accessible content
-analyze content for ease of accessibility


I. Introduce the participants to Assistive Technology and demonstrate daily use of AT for inclusion
II. Introduction of the 5 steps to Accessible Learning and how it correlates to the Universal Design for Learning:
5 steps to Accessible Learning
1. Recognize the need for accessibility and inclusion (invisible
learning differences)
2. Identify learning differences (learning differences, ELL)
3. Identify methods, teaching strategies and free tools for
creating accessible content
4. Ensure your content does not pose any barriers for learners,
creating an inclusive classroom
5. Maximize independence and participation for all learners
III. Discuss and identify learning differences (poll the participants)
IV. Participants will observe and comment on specific classroom examples. (Sharing with their neighbor, posting comments to a Padlet).
V. Demonstration and explanation of free digital resources (MS Learning Tools, iOS accessibility features, iOS/Android apps and other digital resources)
VI. Participants will view the student learning artifacts and watch the videos of learning in action. Then they will collaborate and share the ideas observed which increased student independence and participation. The participants will post their results to a Padlet.

Supporting research

Ralabate, P. K. (2011, August 30). Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Students. The ASHA Leader.

Lieber, J. Horn, E. Palmer, S. & Fleming, K. (2008). Access to the general education curriculum for preschoolers with disabilities: Children’s school success. Exceptionality, 16, 18–32. DOI: 10.1080/09362830701796776

Mcguire, J. M., Scott, S. S., & Shaw, S. F. (2006). Universal Design and Its Applications in Educational Environments. Remedial and Special Education, 27(3), 166–175.

Haley-Mize, Shannon & Reeves, Stacy. (2013). Universal Design for Learning and Emergent-iiteracy Development: Instructional Practices for Young Learners. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin. 79.

International Dyslexia Association. Frequently Asked Questions About Dyslexia, 2011.

P., Thiruselvi & Parthasarathy, Dr. (2013). Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – A Challenging Approach to a Flexible Curriculum for Differencly-Abled.

L. Rello, G. Kanvinde, and R. Baeza-Yates. Layout guidelines for web text and a web service to improve accessibility for dyslexics. In Proc. W4A ’12, Lyon, France, 2012. ACM Press.

Rose, D. H., Meyer, A. E., & Hitchcock, C. E. (2005). The Universally Designed Classroom: Accessible Curriculum and Digital Technologies. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.

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Dana McGee, Calcasieu Parish Technology Training Cen
ISTE Certified Educator

Currently a Technology Facilitator with the Calcasieu Parish School Board in Louisiana, Dana has been an Louisiana Assistive Technology Initiative Facilitator, Instructional Coach, Lead Teacher, and classroom teacher. Since receiving her Master's Degree in Education with a concentration in Educational Technology in 2003, she has been fascinated with emerging technology and how to integrate with curriculum to motivate students and improve efficiency as an educator. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences including Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children (LACEC), Teaching and Technology (TNT), and ISTE affiliates Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) and Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA).

Marybeth Sonnier, Calcasieu Parish School Board

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