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Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Empowering ALL Learners: Inclusive and Accessible Practices Across Environments

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Sunday, November 29, 11:30 am–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Frances Amato  
Sean Arnold  
Christopher Bugaj  
Maria Dickerson  
Jennifer Edge-Savage  
Jaimie Fons  
Dr. Hillary Goldthwait- Fowles  
Mike Marotta  
Amanda Mcfee  
Dr. Luis Perez  
Melissa Stark  
Dr. Mary Townsend  

Every student regardless of disability, living condition, or background deserves a quality learning experience. Beyond that, though they deserve to be empowered to create and engage in the world meaningfully. We will share tools, techniques, and events across learning environments that you can use and recreate to put the power in your student’s hands even if those hands are 3D-printed prosthetics. We will share on empowering student access, communication, creativity, community engagement, self-reflection, and the ability to take action. Come to learn and share how to create a more inclusive and accessible learning environment wherever you are so we may empower ALL learners.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Professional developers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Google Docs/Drive, Clips, Book Creator, Flipgrid
Topic: Universal Design for Learning/differentiated learning
Subject area: Special education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
  • Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of the ILN Playground is to provide ISTE Conference participants with hands-on professional learning with technology to reduce barriers and increase engagement for all learners. This year's playground theme is ”Empowering ALL Learners.” Stations will feature tools and accessible instructional resources related to communication, visualization, design, extra reality, and accessibility. Participants will explore how they can use these tools to support students with being aware of their needs and preferences and become active decision-makers in their own learning. Participants will have an opportunity to create and experience accessible content that they can use to empower student agency and activism.


I- Accessibility & Inclusion- What are they? (digital handout with resources, accessible via QR code), available on website prior to the conference as background knowledge.
II- Empowering “Voices" - accessible tools to allow students to share their ideas
III- Empowering Action - accessible tools to allow students towards activism
IV- Empowering Self-Knowledge - accessible tools to know themselves and the history of disability
V- Empowering Creativity - accessible tools to allow students to create
VI - Reflection Station
 B-Clips - could be done as a selfie station - design your selfie story
 C-Book Creator (iOS and Chrome)

Supporting research

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from

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

Dam, R., and Siang, T. 5 stages in the design thinking process. Interaction Design Foundation. Retrieved from

The Aspen Institute-Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: A Call to Action

More [+]


Frances Amato, Department of Education
Sean Arnold, NYC Dept. of Education

Sean Arnold has won multiple awards for his work with diverse students with disabilities in New York City’s District 75 certified in a wide variety of educational technology. He has helped develop successful programs at a class and district level to address the major challenges facing instruction in a diverse but highly segregated city including the award-winning NYC Schools Tech program.

Christopher Bugaj, Loudoun County Public Schools
Maria Dickerson, El Paso Independent School District
Jennifer Edge-Savage, OT/AT Consultant
Jaimie Fons, Macomb Intermediate School District

Jaimie Fons is the Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant at Macomb Intermediate School District (ISD). Jaimie is a nationally-certified & state-licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who has worked for 16 years with learners who face many barriers. In the past year, Jaimie shifted to designing and facilitating professional learning experiences as a consultant. She has co-created & delivered numerous professional development & training sessions to educators and parents on the topics of AT, AAC, Universal Design for Learning, and Accessibility. She has a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Hillary Goldthwait- Fowles, RSU 21

Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, Ph.D. ATP is an accessibility accomplice whose passionate about ensuring that learning is inclusive and accessible for all learners in a way that makes sense for them. She is an Assistive Technology Specialist for RSU 21 in Kennebunk, Maine where she is grateful to “be paid to think differently” and supports inclusive learning practices through the intentional use of AT, AEM, and UDL. Hillary has written and spoken in various spaces around AT, AEM, and UDL for K-12 and HE. Home is where her heart is in Maine with her husband, sons, pets, and family.

Mike Marotta, ATAC, Disability Rights New Jersey
ISTE Certified Educator

Mike is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional and the 2017 ISTE Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator. Mike is a nationally and internationally recognized presenter providing practical training to professionals interested in assistive and inclusive technology. In addition, Mike is an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey (NJ) teaching Masters level educators in Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning. Mike is the Director of the Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center and serves on the CAST Accessible Educational Materials Advisory Board. Mike is also the founder of EdcampAccess NJ and co-moderator of the weekly #ATchat Twitter chat.

Amanda Mcfee, NYC Department of Education

Amanda McFee serves as Coordinator of Arts Education for District 75, NYCDOE. She is responsible for developing professional development and student programs, creating community partnerships, and supporting family engagement. She specializes in accessible instruction for students with significant needs, believing art gives an opportunity to expand communication and socialization, develop motor skills, and increase problem-solving. Amanda spent her life surrounded by the Arts and Tech, studying voice, visual art, and technology; also developed STEM Programs. She received a BFA in Graphic Design, with advanced studies in Web Design and Ceramics. She also holds an MS Ed in Special Education.

Melissa Stark, New York City Department of Education

Melissa Stark is a Special Education & Ed Tech Model Teacher at P94M in New York City’s Department of Education, which is part of District 75. District 75 serves students with significant disabilities. She is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, as well an Ambassador for Book Creator, Tobii Dynavox, Kahoot! and FlipGrid Student Voice. She is also an Apple Teacher and is Google Certified Level 1 . Melissa has presented at ISTE, Closing the Gap, EdxEdNYC and New York City’s Department of Education Technology Summits focusing on making curriculum more accessible to all.


I am a high school social studies teacher and digital peer coach from Minnesota. I have a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in educational technology.

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