Mar | 2016


Making STEM content and activities accessible for all learners, including those with disabilities, is essential to truly broaden participation in STEM.   During the NSF Next Generation STEM Forum in November 2015, a session on Assistive Technologies for Learning: Broadening Participation in STEM brought together experts in the field to discuss the current state of accessibility in STEM education and how multiple representations, as mentioned in CAST's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, can make learning more accessible.  The December 2015 Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) webinar, below, addressed how visualizations and othe representations can be used to communicate math concepts for English learners.

This month, we highlight additional resources available on accessibility and inclusion. For instance, the March 2016 blog post by a former ITEST PI discusses a current project that uses haptics to provide feedback to visually-impaired students. Second, a report by the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), entitled, "Inclusion, Disabilities, and Informal Science Learning" offers a theoretical framework for thinking about inclusion of people with disabilities in informal science education.  Next, the ITEST Idea Brief on Accessibility provides a concise, information-rich reference that reveals what inclusive programs can look like and offers some practical tips for getting there.  For specific examples, Freedom Machines shows a curriculum, discussion guide, and lesson plans centered on inclusivity with examples of adults and students with disabilities using technology.  As well, the Invention Factory offers another example of an ITEST project that focuses on accessibility. 

For additional resources on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) held a workshop on UDL during a STEM Smart Workshop in February 2016.  To learn more about the concept of UDL, access the UDL primer on the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL) website.