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Meeting students needs with UDL and technology

Meeting students needs with UDL and technology

Author: Ashley Sweatt

In this lesson, you will learn about the differences between low tech, mid tech, and high tech options that enhance student learning, along with some important points to consider about how technology relates to UDL.

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Meeting Students' Needs with UDL and Technology

Source: Image of magnifying glass, Public Domain, Image of cane, Public Domain, Image of glasses, Public Domain, Image of keyboard, Public Domain, Image of wheelchair, Public Domain,

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Hi, my name is Ashley, and today's lesson is titled Meeting Students' Needs with UDL and Technology. In today's lesson, we will look at assistive technology resources that can be used in the classroom. We will look at the three different levels-- low tech, mid tech, and high tech. Also, we will see how these technologies can be successfully in the UDL classroom.

The definition of a low tech assistive technology is a device or equipment that does not require much training, if any. They are simple and do not have electronic features. Some examples of low tech assistive technology are glasses or a magnifying glass. A cane is also a low tech assistive resource. Neither of these items require any type of training or electronics.

Now, yes, it is good to have high tech resources available. But what do you do when the battery runs out, or if there is a malfunction? That's why it's always good to have low tech technologies as a backup, in case another one fails. And if a low tech assistive resource does the trick, then that's all the student will need. No need to look for other resources.

A mid tech assistive technology is a device or equipment that may have some complex features. It may be electronic or operated by batteries. Mid tech resources may require some training before it can be used, and is generally more expensive. Some examples include a specialized keyboard or a light that activates when the doorbell is ringing to alert someone who is hearing impaired. This may be a good middle of the road option that still meets the goal, but is less advanced and less expensive, when comparing it to high tech resources.

High tech devices or equipment are electronic and have complex features. High tech devices are expensive, and will definitely require a lot of training in order to be used. Examples of high tech devices are powered wheelchairs, digital hearing aids, and voice activated communication devices. High tech devices provide the most independence for learners who have significant challenges.

There are many ways that technologies can be successfully used in the UDL classroom. Nowadays, technology is so advanced that it creates lots of options for customizing for easier use. There are usually supports that are normally built in for extra support for students.

Teachers should also be prepared to use various types of technologies, ranging from low to high tech. Now that technology is everywhere around us, we have to make sure that we use technology for the right reasons and make it purposeful. Just using technology to say it's being used is not meaningful for students.

Some cases, it might be OK to use assistive technologies here and there. But you also have to understand, you will have some students who will need it on a daily basis. A pencil grip is considered an assistive technology. And some students will need it every day whenever they are writing.

Let's recap what you've learned today in this lesson. Assisted technologies range from low, mid, to high tech. Low tech assistive technology does not require much training or electronic features. Mid tech assistive technology requires some training and may be electronic, and slightly more expensive than low tech resources. High tech assistive technologies are the most expensive and require a lot of training, because they consist of complex features. When using technologies in the UDL classroom, it is important that teachers are aware of the different types of technologies, to be able to incorporate them and use them meaningfully.

As we bring the lesson to an end, think about what purposeful technology can you incorporate in your instruction. Do you have students who would benefit from assistive technology on a regular basis? Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description, so you can easily target the resources you want.

Notes on "Meeting Students' Needs with UDL and Technology"


(00:00 - 00:12) Introduction

(00:13 - 00:32) What will you learn today?

(00:33 - 01:24) Low Tech

(01:25 - 02:04) Mid Tech

(02:05 - 02:34) High Tech

(02:35 - 03:30) How do you successfully use technologies in the UDL classroom?

(03:31 - 04:17) What did you learn today?

(04:18 - 04:47) Reflection


Additional Resources

Georgia Tech: What is Assistive Technology

This site provides an overview of assistive technology. In particular, there is a clear explanation of the differences between high tech and low tech assistive technology.

South Carolina Assistive Technology Program: SC Curriculum Access through AT

This is a great overview of assistive technology and how it is used in schools. Particular attention is given to how assistive technology can provide students with access to the core curriculum.