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Breaking It Down: Creating a Universally Accessible Makerspace

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 126A

Participate and share: Interactive session
Recorded Session
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Lead School Social Worker
NEMetro 916 ISD
Cara received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is a board member for the Minnesota School Social Work Association and staff for the School Social Work Association of America. Cara practices an embedded and aligned model of Restorative, Trauma Aware, and Social Emotional Learning model to work towards Educational Equity. She cares deeply about student achievement, social justice, and understands the importance of developing high structure and consistency for students that are predictably underserved. She specializes in youth mental health, trauma aware practices, special education, working with military families, and crisis work.
Technology Integration Analyst & Trainer
Northeast Metro Intermediate School Dist
ISTE Certified Educator
Emily is a Technology Integrator and Trainer for Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916, a former middle school German Teacher, and a Google Certified Trainer & Coach and ISTE Certified Educator. Throughout her time at 916, she has worked with staff and students to grow their instructional technology skills and meets everyone where they are at. Emily has presented at a variety of local, regional, national, and international conferences, both in-person and virtually. She uses her professional experiences, passion for technology, and drive to innovate student learning to inform and plan her training sessions, including one-on-one, group, and online.
Special Projects Manager
Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School
Theresa has been working with students with disabilities for 18 years and specializes in individualizing instruction and supports for complex learners. She carries both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Special Education with specializations in Behavior and Autism Studies. She currently works as Lead for Consultative Services at Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District in Minnesota and works part time as an adjunct professor and supervisor at the University of Minnesota in their Educational Psychology Department. She spends her free time hiking and kayaking with her adorable dog Jasper.

Session description

Makerspace activities foster inclusion, are enjoyed by and engaging for all students, especially those with special education needs or accommodations. We'll share differentiation levels we created to help increase accessibility and inclusive creative spaces for all students to engage, collaborate, share, fail forward and learn together.

Purpose & objective

Participants will understand the barriers to accessibility for creative activities for learners with special education needs.
Participants will understand the importance of inclusion for all learners.
Participants will apply universal design principles to increase accessibility for all learners.
Participants will apply systematic supports to increase computational thinking strategies for all learners.

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3 minutes - Introductions
5 minutes - Research background
10 minutes - UDL and Accessibility
20 minutes - Makerspace Differentiation Levels & Computational Thinking Strategies
15 minutes - Activity
5 minutes - Takeaways
2 minutes - Questions

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Supporting research - Imaginative Play in digital environments:
designing social and creative opportunities for
identity formation (Full text of article linked on page)

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain; Zaretta Hammond

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Session specifications

Maker activities and programs
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Subject area:
Special education
ISTE Standards:
For Coaches:
Learning Designer
  • Collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency.
For Educators:
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
Related exhibitors:
LEGO Education,