Tech is making STEM ed more accessible for special needs students
- Technology is increasingly helping educators provide students with special needs the same access to STEM learning opportunities as their peers, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Differentiating instruction with short video clips, devices, learning apps, after-school programs, and tools like drones or robots can help keep all students engaged on more even playing fields, as can embracing failure and encouraging students to try new things with tech.
- Additionally, text-to-speech software can assist struggling readers, and many tools are enabling non-verbal and other students to communicate in more creative ways, including computers that can be controlled by eye movement.
When adopting new approaches and technologies in the classroom, schools must be mindful of their impact on educational access for students with special needs. Does a digital resource accommodate visually-impaired students, including those who are color-blind? What about those who are hearing impaired or have reduced motor function?
At the higher ed level, the Campus Computing Project's Casey Green has noted that compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is a "lawsuit waiting to happen" for many institutions as they take more resources digital. The Every Student Succeeds Act offers more flexibility as schools and districts look to increase accessibility, but standardizing a checklist for all existing and potential needs for every vendor conversation should be a top priority for administrators if it isn't already.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 How Tech Can Help Students with Disabilities Thrive in STEM Education
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