Increasing access to technology in K-12 classrooms

Horowitz says there are a number of steps school districts can take to achieve these goals. To start, school leaders should view AT as a form of accommodation and differentiate AT hardware and AT software and services.

To adequately meet the needs of students with disabilities, district leaders must also understand how assistive technology helps them access mainstream education curricula. Those on school decision-making teams who are responsible for implementing technology solutions should be familiar with students with disabilities and know the steps for evaluating the effectiveness of assistive technology for individual students.

explore: Educators are demonstrating the need for increased technological professional development in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Providing adaptive technology and assistance for K-12 students

When it comes to finding the most useful technology to help students and teachers, Horowitz points to Universal Design for Learning. This model prioritizes the ability of students and educators to choose technology solutions that increase participation, facilitate work, sustain effort, and encourage communication.

From an implementation perspective, this could mean adding peripherals such as purpose-built mice, keyboards, and headphones, or it could include software tools that automatically add closed captions or help teachers record video lessons for later review.

Horowitz recommends resources such as Educating All Learners Alliance Tech Tool Library, which help teachers and parents search for specific tools and learn more about their accessibility features. However, he notes, “It’s not so much about the hardware itself as about the things the hardware can do and deliver.”

As schools return toward personalized learning models, Horowitz recommends creating a common understanding of key terms related to AT adoption, use, and outcomes. It also highlights the need for diligent purchases. These processes must ensure that any services or products are compliant with state and federal ICT accessibility regulations, which provide assurance that education technology suppliers “have the expertise to ensure that their products can accommodate the needs of a wide range of learners,” it said. saying. .

Accessible technologies allow schools to remove potential barriers and offer learning without limits. But, as Horowitz explains, the technology itself is only part of the equation for sustainable supportive success. “While choosing the right assistive technology is a critical first step, implementing assistive technology solutions with the whole child in mind will yield the best results,” he says.

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