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.
Project Spotlight: Comprehensive Information Technology Education in Rural Appalachia (CITERA) and eTouchSciences
Building on the work of her ITEST project, Dr. Darrah has created eTouchSciences, a company that provides educational software utilizing haptic technology, which provides real-time tactile feedback to visually impaired students as they explore math and science lessons.
REL Webinar - Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learner Students
This webinar will present current research findings that demonstrate the importance of language proficiency for math learning among English learner students.
Inclusion, Disabilities, and Informal Science Learning
Inclusion, Disabilities, and Informal Science Learning, a report by the CAISE Access Inquiry Group, offers a theoretical framework for thinking about inclusion of people with disabilities in informal science education (ISE), then reviews current practice in museums (broadly defined), in media and technology, and in youth and community programs.
ITEST Idea Brief: Accessibility: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments
This Idea Brief from the ITEST LRC provides a concise, information-rich reference that reveals what inclusive programs can look like and offers some practical tips for getting there.
The Freedom Machines film, discussion guide, lesson plan, and resource guides are designed to dramatically broaden the concept of diversity for all students through telling the intimate stories of adults and children with disabilities who are using modern technologies to change their lives.
The Invention Factory: Student Inventions Aid Individuals with Disabilities
The Invention Factory is a nontraditional youth-based, after-school program in Honolulu that teaches information technology and mechanics to teenagers through interactive, hands-on projects that improve human computer interaction for individuals with disabilities.