by Ruth Ziolkowski
We learn to walk before we learn to run. On our journey to provide better education through the application of Universal Design for Learning, we need a place to start. The first place to start, and a great place to test our steps, is to provide Assistive Technology that is universally accessible. Not only is this the shorter path to Universal Design for Learning, it is part of a basic civil right.
A key element of IDEA is to provide the “least restrictive environment” to our students, yet we are still forcing students to use certain computers in certain locations—and only at school—because this is where the software is installed.
Apartheid controlled where people lived, whom they married and the type of education they were offered.
Adolph Hitler prohibited Jews from owning land and stripped them of their citizenship.
Four generations from now, will our current education system be categorized among these examples; will it be recorded as an oppressive injustice?
We have clearly transitioned to a new time in our history. Our leader represents our ability to look beyond race to appreciate a person’s true value. President Obama challenges us all to eliminate the subtle elements of segregation that still exist.
It was never our intent to leave students out. For many years we have had ideas about how to be able to educate using approaches that are more universal and inclusive. In many cases, the barrier to achieving this has been cost. We’ve begun to design more efficient ways of delivering and licensing our technology (I’m referring to Read:OutLoud as my example here) but wanted to hear ideas from you.
How can we get to the place we know we need to be? How do we ensure our students get access anywhere—in the school and at home?
What collection of tools are you using to work toward this goal? What is your vision?