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Beyond the Buzzwords: Connecting Inclusion and Accessibility to Personalized and Blended Instruction

taught by: Rita Fennelly-Atkinson

Session Summary:

This session will connect personalized instruction to blended instruction, accessibility principles, and Universal Design for Learning principles. The goal will be to provide educators and advocates with language and examples for inclusive and accessible instruction that is good for ALL students and move away from the idea that it is simply a requirement for some students. Moving beyond the buzzwords, this session will strive to provide participants with pedagogical practices that are simple and yet powerful examples of how instruction can shift from technical compliance to a robust learner experience for all students.

Description:

This session will connect personalized instruction to blended instruction, accessibility principles, and Universal Design for Learning principles. The goal will be to provide educators and advocates with language and examples for inclusive and accessible instruction that is good for ALL students and move away from the idea that it is simply a requirement for some students. Moving beyond the buzzwords, this session will strive to provide participants with pedagogical practices that are simple and yet powerful examples of how instruction can shift from technical compliance to a robust learner experience for all students. As devices become more prevalent in instructional settings, accessibility considerations become a critical part of the design process. As educators embrace using technology in the classroom, blended and personalized learning becomes a natural extension towards innovative instructional practices. Blended learning is characterized by having face-to-face and online instructional components present in a course. Personalized learning is characterized by the instruction that students can engage with independently or collaboratively at their own pace. Personalized learning focuses on key practices that are founded upon strong instructional strategies and critical for successful blended learning environments. In this context, accessibly-designed materials become even more important so that learners are able to engage with instruction independently and at their own pace. More importantly, the framework for personalized learning naturally places a high value on inclusive and accessible practices. This session will specifically look at how personalized learning frameworks are connected to the four principles of accessibility (perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust) and the principles for the Universal Design for Learning which include multiple means of action, representation, expression, and engagement. The concepts of personalized learning will focus on data-driven decisions, flexible content and tools, targeted instruction, and student reflection and ownership through the lens of Highlander Institute’s priority practices around the four domains of classroom culture; interest, identity, and agency; differentiation, and mastery and rigor.