Creating Adaptable Classrooms for All Students
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Creating Adaptable Classrooms for All Students

Narrator: When Bailey
was in middle school, print textbooks were used which are basically
one size fits all. For students with print
disabilities like Bailey, it was up to the teacher
to tailor instruction to meet individual needs
and provide the accommodations that were necessary. Tracy: I had to definitely
differentiate for Bailey. I had to make sure that things
were accessible to him on the computer, audio books. Narrator: One of Bailey’s
teachers describes how overwhelmed
she initially felt when hearing about the learning
challenges Bailey presented, but with help from the
assistive technology specialist, she learned how to
support Bailey and use the technology. Jenny: I went to Bailey’s
IEP meeting when he was an eighth grader. At the IEP meeting,
my eyes were opened, because I heard about
all the print issues and the challenges he had
with reading and the written expression, and I am thinking, “Okay, what am I gonna be
able to do to help him?” Because I know Word and Excel, but I had not had a student
like Bailey before that had those issues. Narrator: Since that time,
technology has advanced, and the district has established the 21st Century Classroom
initiative. The availability of flexible
materials and technology meet the needs of many students without
additional accommodations. When students like Bailey
do need additional supports, they can be seamlessly provided. Chris: When try to incorporate
assistive technology or educational supports
for students, The closer we can stay
to standard materials, the easier it is for staff,
student, and parents accept it. Students have benefited from our using the tools
they’re already familiar with like the word processor
they’re used to. They’re not overwhelmed by that. When you try to introduce
a program that’s not standard, then they see
the learning curve, and they get a little scared. But we have been very successful with students being able to use
technology in the classroom by letting the staff know that it’s the same tools
they’re used to. We’re just adding
one little piece. We’re gonna add text-to-speech, a universal text reader,
for instance, on top of the word processor that the students and they
are already comfortable using. We’re just going to add
one tool bar to maybe the PDFs
that they normally use– publisher provided worksheets,
for example– and we’re gonna
allow the students and provide a way for
the students to type on them. And then we can add
text-to-speech on top of that for reading support. Narrator:
In the adaptable classroom, curriculum and instruction
can be personalized to fit the varying strengths,
needs, and preferences of all students
in the classroom– those with
and without disabilities– through the thoughtful
introduction of new technologies and accessible
instructional materials.

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