Mr. Zirkle

Universal Design, Chromebooks, & Actively Learn

As an ITF and instructional designer, I take into account learners with disabilities. “When considering learners with disabilities, the instructional designer must be aware of three major factors: the presence of disability, the impact of disability on learning, and the technology used by individuals to overcome barriers presented by the disability ( Reiser & Dempsey, 2018).  I have been working with a special needs teacher that has three very old desktops in her class of ten students. We discussed the presence of the disabilities her students have, the impact it has on their learning, and how technology could be used to overcome some of the barriers. We came up with a list of what would benefit the students:
1. One-to-One – if every student in her class had their own device they could all participate instead of having to share among three dinosaur desktops. This will help with some of the emotional issues student have when they can not participate or control the device themselves.
2. Audio – the students would benefit from having a device that would read the text to them.
3. Agility /Motor Control – some students have a hard time using a keyboard and mouse.
4.Visibility – having what is being presented to the class in front of the students, on a device, would be more beneficial than the content being projected at the front of the room.
5. Reading Program – having a reading program that will help differentiate texts for the various reading levels would be beneficial.
6. Dictionary – being able to define a word on demand would increase comprehension.
7. Digital Annotation – students that have difficulty writing manually could annotate using a computer.
8. Discussions – having a way for students to discuss and participate without having to be verbally would increase participation.

After collaborating with the special needs teacher, I came to a conclusion/recommendation. I recommended that she purchase ten touchscreen laptops and purchase and use the free version of Actively Learn. The touchscreen devices and the reading program would meet every item on the list that we created. The problem is that she had no funds to purchase the devices. I reached out to some community members and was able to secure a three thousand dollar donation. I purchased ten touchscreen laptops. I was also able to provide her with a lockable charging cart.


Reiser, R. A., & Dempsey, J. V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. New York: Pearson.

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