More and more students are being taught in inclusive settings. Regardless of physical and cognitive differences classrooms are becoming inclusive to all. Designing learning environments using inclusive practices can provide equitable experiences in the classroom. The three dimensions of Inclusive Design can guide educators, learners, parents, guardians and education resource creators in understanding how to continually create inclusive education environments.
The three dimensions of Inclusive Design are:
- Recognize diversity and uniqueness
- Use inclusive processes and tools
- Broader beneficial impact
- Video introducing the Inclusive Design Guide and it’s sections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESyrapafICE
- Find out more about each of the three dimensions of Inclusive Design on the Inclusive Design Research Centre website
- The Inclusive Learning Design Handbook for perspectives, approaches and techniques in inclusive learning design
- The Inclusive Design Guide for insights, practices, tools and activities
Technology, differentiated instruction, and inclusive learning
Fortunately, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is an excellent tool to practice differentiated instruction. A growing body of research confirms that when it comes to learning, one size doesn’t fit all. Differentiated instruction is based on the idea of adapting the teaching strategy and content to the needs, speed, and learning approach of each student.
The context: Classroom layout should be accessible for all students. For example, a teacher should make sure that there is enough space to accommodate a student using a wheelchair or that lighting can be adjusted for sensory sensitivities.
The procedures: Use multiple ways of expressing tasks given to students. As an example, by creating colour and shape codes for the tasks (e.g., yellow circles for reading tasks and blue squares for exercises), you can develop inclusive teaching materials that may assist an ESL (English as a Second Language) student, as well as others who may learn better with visual aids.
The content: Select materials that offer options for students to access the information in various ways (e.g., Alternative formats such as audio version of texts, screen readable text, and digitally interactive worksheets that are equitable to the printed counterpart).
The evaluation: Technology can help you offer different options for students to express learning, inclusive of differences. For example, the use of word processing or voice recording may be a good strategy as an alternative to scribing. Remember that scribing is not always possible for those with fine motor skill difficulties or focus challenges—demonstrating learning can be expressed in many different forms.
Things to remember
- Technology isn’t the spotlight — technology should support and encourage the use, development, and quality of educational content.
- Technology use should support the needs and characteristics of the students.
- Technology use should take into account the content of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and its learning objectives.