Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Coding to Learn and Create: Design that Includes ALL Students

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Participate and share : Poster

Susie Blackstien-Adler  
Leanne Husk  
Michelle D'Souza  
Christy McDonald  

All students benefit from coding opportunities, but the design of current applications limits meaningful participation of students with complex needs. Using a UDL approach, lessons, materials and a software application were designed to ensure all students actively participate in coding experiences. Join us to explore new resources and provide your input.

Audience: Teachers, Curriculum/district specialists, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Chrome browser
Topic: Assistive & adaptive technologies
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Special education, STEM/STEAM
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:
Computational Thinker
  • Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.
For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Purpose: To provide educators in a variety of roles an opportunity to explore accessible tools and resources that can help them achieve their equity and inclusion goals.

Participants will:
- broaden their knowledge of how to provide inclusive coding instruction.
- understand how they can use an open-source accessible coding interface for face to face or remote coding instruction.
- learn about accessible coding kits that support educators in teaching coding using commercially available coding robots.

Supporting research

1. Israel, M., et al. “Empowering K–12 Students With Disabilities to Learn Computational Thinking and Computer Programming.” TEACHING Exceptional Children 48.1 (2015): 45-53.
2. Walmer, J., Ferrari, E., Dautenhahn,K., and Robins, B. The effectiveness of using a robotics class to foster collaboration among groups of children with autism in an exploratory study. Published online: 12 March 2010. Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010
3. Sally Lindsay & Kara Grace Hounsell (2017) Adapting a robotics program to enhance participation and interest in STEM among children with disabilities: a pilot study, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12:7, 694-704, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2016.1229047
4. Kim D. Adams and Albert M. Cook. Programming and controlling robots using scanning on a speech generating communication device: A case study. Technology and Disability 25 (2013) 275–286.
5. Elizabeth R., Kazakoff, Amanda Sullivan & Marina U. Bers (2013). The Effect of a Classroom-Based Intensive Robotics and Programming Workshop on Sequencing Ability in Early Childhood. Early Childhood Education 41:245–255
6. Matthew Taylor. (2017) Computer Programming with Early Elementary Students with and without Intellectual Disabilities. Doctoral Thesis, College of Education and Human Performance, University of Central Florida.

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Leanne Husk, Bridges Canada

Leanne Husk has a background as an educator for students who have complex needs and has certification as a Learning Disabilities Specialist. As a lead instructor for Bridges, she designs and leads workshops and works directly with students and teachers to help them create and implement dynamic and inclusive learning experiences with technology across the curriculum. Leanne first experienced the need for scaffolded instruction and adapted materials when introducing coding to normally developing students. These experiences have been invaluable as she works, in collaboration with OCAD University, supporting Bridges' current initiative - creating inclusive and accessible coding experiences for ALL.

Michelle D'Souza, Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD U
Christy McDonald, Bridges Canada

Christy McDonald is an educator, curricular and assistive technology consultant, supporting people with special needs and those supporting them. She leads a professional development project for teachers, implementing educational curricula for students with complex needs. She has developed a series of on-line courses to support teachers and parents in supporting the use of AT features in reading and writing. She is part of a team that develops and delivers summer technology camps to students who have special needs, which include experiences in coding. Christy is involved in a project developing accessible coding experiences for ALL students, using a UDL approach.

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