Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perhaps instructional design is similar to constructing a puzzle. Distinct, yet related, pieces come together to create an object that is stronger and more effective than the individual components. The final project for my Selection and Integration of Instructional Technology class involves designing a learning experience that incorporates and combines a number of critical strategies and methods in support of 21st century learning environments. The elements include support for curriculum standards, the gradual release of responsibility, integrated digital technology strategies, CyberCitizenry, and Universal Design for Learning. Click here to review this integrated technology learning experience.

Images used under license from Shutterstock.com

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Universal Design for Learning & Apps

Originally established to eliminate architectural barriers for those with accessibility requirements, educators have recognized universal design as a strategy that can be used to address individual learning styles. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides a framework for course structure, individualized instruction, assessment, and academic engagement. Universal Design for Learning has the potential to maximize learning opportunities for all.

The following are a few applications available for the iPad, iPod or iPhone that can help support a UDL-based learning environment:



Potential Use

UD Links

Apple App Store Description:

“This app is for teachers and parents to search for content specific online teaching resources aligned with Universal Design for Learning. Users can complete a "Class Profile" narrowing the resources by content, grade level and topic. When prompted, questions in the profile tool narrow the search further by asking questions aligned with UDL. In the resources section of the app, teachers can search for lesson plans, multimedia, practice, games, tutorials or by topic and unique search terms. As users navigate the resources, they can save as favorites, share and view on their mobile device. The app also has a section for Universal Design for Learning linking teachers and parents with resources shared directly on the CAST website.

This app was developed as a product of the College and Career Readiness Support Project, a federal ARRA Title-II-D Ed Tech partnership grant, in collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education.”

This application can serve as the initial point of reference for guidance in the design and development of UDL-based courses, lesson plans, and the use of web 2.0 tools.

Voice Memos

Audio recording application for the iPad.

This application can be used to record classroom lectures. The content can then be uploaded to a server for distribution, providing an alternate means for delivering content. Students are able to watch the video as often as necessary to understand content being delivered.

Can be used by students who experience difficulty with writing or recall.

Talking Calculator

The application speaks button names and calculation results aloud with either a built-in or custom recorded voice.

Can be used in support of math comprehension, assisting students with math-related learning difficulties, as well as students with visual challenges. The audio can also reinforce student comprehension of numeric elements.

iPad Settings

The iPad device natively supports accessibility in a variety of ways, which are configured via the “Settings” application. Options include:

  • VoiceOver
  • Zoom
  • Large Text
  • White on Black
  • Speak Selection
  • Speak Auto-Text
  • Mono Audio
  • AssistiveTouch
  • Triple-Click Home
  • Brightness of Page
  • Font Sizing

Supports learners with visual, hearing, or motor challenges. These settings are global in nature and can be used to assist learners in a variety of settings accessing a variety of learning modules.

For example, students experiencing visual difficulties could use the “large text” feature when using Internet-based learning management system-based courses.

Learning Ally Audio

App for the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPod. Access downloadable DAISY-formatted audiobooks.

Serves individuals with visual impairments or learning disabilities who experience difficulty with reading printed material. The DAISY format allows users to hear and navigate written material presented in an audible format.

Assistive Chat

An Augmentative Alternative Communication Device. Allows users to communicate at the fastest rate possible, using natural sounding voices.

For individuals who experience difficulty in the area of speech. This technology could be used in support of group discussion or group project assignments.


An avatar provides sign language instruction in 3D, from selectable vantage points. The library includes over 11,500 words.

Can be used to create supplemental sign-language based course content for those with hearing challenges.


Allows the user to write in Braille on an iPhone. Braille files may be delivered to others via email and text message.

Can assist instructors in the creation of Braille-based content that can be distributed to students via email or text messaging.


Allows the user to calculate the contrast ratio between two colors, ensuring compliance with accessibility guidelines

Assists instructors with the appropriate selection of colors to assist those who may experience difficulty with color contrast.

Text Enlarger HD

Allows the user to type in desired text and enlarge it to the biggest size possible. Maximum font size is 620.

Effective for hearing or speech impaired individuals.


Handwriting, Note Taking, Typing, Drawing and Sound Recording Application

This flexible application provides multiple means for capturing information based on the student’s preferred method.

For example, during lectures, students who experience motor difficulty impacting writing could create audio recordings to be reviewed or shared at a later date.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Digital Footprints

Everything posted about an individual online becomes part of their online presence known as a digital footprint. This educational strategy seeks to inform higher education students, faculty, and parents on the impact of digital footprints and offers information for building a positive online image.

Image Copyright Olinchuk, Used under license from Shutterstock.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Bringing it all together…

After many months of studying learning methods and technology, the instructional technology master’s program is now bringing it all together! The most recent assignment involves the identification of five instances of technology integration in learning and recommended changes to three of them that advance learning to a higher level on the Technology Integration Matrix developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Click here to read about the instructional courses that I've selected and suggestions for increasing the level of technology to further enhance learning.

Do you have additional suggestions for integration? Comments are welcome!

Image Copyright Andreke. Used under license from Shutterstock.com