2004 Conference Proceedings

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Janice Philpot, M.Ed., C.A.S., Assistant Professor
Director, Balfour Urban Scholars Program
Lesley University
29 Everett Street, White Hall #5
Cambridge, MA 02138-2790
Phone: (617) 349-8410 or 1-800-999-1959 ext 8410
Fax: (617) 349-8169
Email: jphilpot@mail.lesley.edu

Mary Elizabeth Curtis, PhD, Professor
Director, Center for Special Education
Lesley University
1815 Mass. Ave, Suite 362
Cambridge, MA 02138-2790
Phone: (617) 349-8577 or 1-800-999-1959 ext 8577
Fax: (617) 349-8125
Email: mcurtis@mail.lesley.edu

The application of assistive technology and universal design is currently the focus of secondary and higher education curriculum. The Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA), a federal law reauthorized in 1997, requires schools to consider a student's need for assistive technology devices and services whenever an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is written. In addition, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires schools to provide assistive technology for students with disabilities, if needed to assure equal access to the school's programs and services. The concept of universal design was developed as an architectural model in response to ADA guidelines requiring public facilities be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The concept of universal design applied in education focuses on the educational curriculum. Universal design in education seeks to develop curriculum in which all learners can participate and provide access to content in a manner that allows the student to assume responsibility for their learning. The combination of assistive technology and universal design has proven to be the next developmental stage in the movement toward truly inclusive schooling. In response, the training of educators in the concept, principals, and application of assistive technology and universal design has emerged in postsecondary teacher training programs.

To address this professional development need the Center for Special Education at Lesley University, (http://www.lesley.edu/academic_centers/special_education/index.html) designed a hybrid model addressing the use of assistive technology and universal design in relation to language arts curriculum. The institute was entitled AT & UDL: Many Paths to Learning Institute. The goal of the institute was to familiarize participants with assistive technologies (applications developed specifically to help individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers) along with the principle of universal design (designing learning environments so that barriers are minimized from the outset). It was anticipated that upon completion of the institute, participants would be able to:

The format of the AT & UDL: Many Paths to Learning Institute consisted of the first 30 hours of the institute taking place face-to-face, over two weekends in the summer of 2003. The next 7 hours took place in an online format. The final 8 hours took place over two Saturdays, one in the fall and one in the winter of 2003. Information in the initial face-to-face session was delivered via lecture, demonstrations, case studies, and small group hands-on and discussion activities. The online section allowed participants to acquire additional information about technology at their own pace, to reflect on their classroom practice so as to use technology effectively, and complete a WebQuest to inform and prepare students to purchase assistive technology. The final 2 face-to-face sessions focused on providing participants with the opportunity to discuss implementation of their new knowledge, skills and technology purchased.

To better inform and develop future professional development models data was collected. Participants' views of their own knowledge and skills was assessed through pre- and post-institute participation using Likert inventories in the following areas: basic computer and network skills; low-, medium- and high-technology devices; special education legislation related to technology; and interactive, multi-media approaches to learning.

The creation and sponsoring of the AT & UDL: Many Paths to Learning Institute addresses the need of and for professional development in the areas of assistive technology and universal design. In addition, the institute provides research for further development of effective professional development models.

If selected to present CSUN workshop participants who attend this session will acquire an understanding of how to create a hybrid assistive technology and universal design course, learn the results of the data analysis of the institute and gain skills in developing and modifying postsecondary curriculum and/or professional development series into hybrid models.


Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

A summary of the findings and conclusions for kindergarten through grade 3 from the 2000 report of the National Reading Panel. Contains information about instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Chall, J.S. (1996, 1983). Stages of reading development. New York: Harcourt Brace.

An analysis of the qualitative changes in reading, from its early beginnings to its most advanced, highly skilled form.

Hasselbring, T.S., & Glaser, C.H.W. (2000). Use of computer technology to help students with special needs. The Future of Children, 10 (2).

An overview of the role computer technology can play in promoting the education of children with special needs within the regular education classroom.

Kame'enui, E., Carnine, D.W., Dixon, R.C., Simmons, D.C., & Coyne, M.D. (2002). Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Concerned with teaching, instruction, and curricula required to maximize learning of diverse learners.

Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership Training Manual. Available from: http://matp.org

Covers civil rights, funding, and resources as each relates to assistive technology.

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Available: http://www.doe.mass.edu

Meyer, A., & Rose, D.H. (1998). Learning to read in the computer age. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Computers are related to theories of the brain and to the teaching of reading skills and strategies. The variety of computer software available for teaching students who experience reading problems is presented.

MacArthur, C.A., Ferretti, R.P., Okolo, C.M., & Cavalier, A.R. (2001). Technology applications for students with literacy problems: A critical review. The Elementary School Journal, 101, 273-301.

A review of recent research on the use of technology to teach or support literacy learning among children with moderate special needs. Concludes that technology's effect depends on: the design of the tool, the way in which it is used, the characteristics of the students using it, and the instruction that accompanies it.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Based on the work of a national consensus panel. Provides guidance for practitioners and policymakers about the best approaches for teaching reading.

Reed, P. (2001) Resource guide for teachers and administrators about assistive technology. Available from: http://www.wati.org/resourcegnide.htm

Manual to help teachers and administrators expand their knowledge about assist technology and to assist districts in developing and expanding their capacity to provide effective and efficient assistive technology services.

Rose, D., Sethuraman, S., & Meo, G.J. (2000). Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15, 56-60.

UDL principles are applied to the process of setting individual learning goals within the K-12 curriculum.

Rose, D., & Meyer, A. Teaching every student in the digital age. Available: http://www.cast.org

Presents the principles and applications of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), along with a research-based framework for responding to individual learning differences in the classroom.

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