Assistive Technology and UDL

Technology plays an important role in supporting Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

By providing a variety of flexible learning options and opportunities for engagement, technology can help all learners to succeed. For example, online courses and resources can provide greater flexibility for students with different learning needs and schedules. In addition, online tools such as social media can create opportunities for the learner to connect with each other and share ideas. Finally, technology can also be used to customize learning experiences to meet individual needs.

For example, adaptive technologies can provide individualized support for learners with different abilities. By integrating technology into instruction, educators can create classrooms that are more inclusive and responsive to the needs of all learners.

Webinar: Leveraging EdTech to Provide Options & Scaffolding for Your Learners

When literacy is a barrier for learners, it affects them in every environment, and it can keep them from reaching their full potential. Read&Write and OrbitNote are universally designed literacy tools that remove barriers to literacy and learning while increasing reading fluency and comprehension.

Join Texthelp Territory Director and UDL Specialist Joni Degner for a full look at Read&Write and OrbitNote. This session will explore how these tools can support learners in everyday tasks like reading, writing, research, and organization.

Is technology necessary for UDL?

Assistive Technology can help students with diverse learning needs by supporting, and in some cases accelerating, their learning by providing scaffolding and options where needed. Software can support students in checking their work for spelling and grammar. It can help them to understand the editing process, as well as encourage them to expand their vocabulary.

Tools built with UDL in mind from the start, offer benefits to all learners. For example, ‘speech to text’ software can help to express words while learning online. Using ‘text to speech’ tools can aid comprehension. It can also give alternative ways to study, revise, and learn. These digital learning tools can be used to scaffold and support all learners, in every environment.

Edtech tools that are built using UDL help make sure that learners can succeed academically. They empower, encourage and enhance the learning experience across a wide range of learning needs.

How can technology coupled with UDL help our learners?

Technology can help students to understand and be understood, fast-tracking their learning. Handwriting is a cause of stress for many younger kids. Software programmes that help with writing prose can alleviate some of the pressure. This allows them to go back and check their work for spelling and grammar along the way. But this also extends to specific education technology that has transformed the way in which we learn.

For all learners, ‘speak to type’ software can help express words while learning online - using ‘text to speech’ to aid comprehension, or provide alternative ways to study, revise and learn. These ‘assistive’ technology tools can be used to scaffold and support learners at school and at home, providing the multiple routes outlined in the Universal Design for Learning framework.

Finally, it is vital that these kinds of tools are provided to everyone, not just those with identified learning differences.

Embedding the use of these tools into the culture of learning across the curriculum will optimise the learning experience. This empowers everyone to create their own unique roadmap through education.

Webinar: Cheating, Or Empowering Learners with Reading and Writing Tools In The Digital Age?

Register for this on-demand session hosted by Joni Degner, Territory Director at Texthelp and Tracey Hall, Senior Research Scientist & Instructional Designer at CAST

Recorded during as part of our UDL Touchdown Series this session focuses on focus on how learners can use AT to develop a better understanding of their own learning preferences in order to develop a strong voice and more effectively advocate for inclusive learning experiences for everyone.

Edtech and UDL

Universal Design for Learning does not rely on technology, and can be implemented in a low- or no-tech way. That said, technology does create a richer and more engaging experience, providing phenomenal opportunities to remove barriers and make the learning experience more accessible to every learner. So although it's not required, technology is a huge asset, especially when it comes to ensuring that learning opportunities are equitable for every learner, regardless of age or ability.

With the learner experience and UDL principles in mind, we’ve designed Read&Write and Equatio. To help you recognize which product features are aligned to CAST’s UDL guidelines, we’ve created these handy guides.

Multiple means of Read&Write

Learn how Read&Write's features match up to the UDL framework.

Multiple means of Equatio

Discover how Equatio and its features has been created with UDL in mind.

Keep reading

Implementing UDL

Discover how to start implementing UDL principles today and create inclusive learning environments for all.

Why UDL is a valuable approach

Understand how to use UDL to promote equity, enhance flexibility, increase efficiency, and improve learning outcomes.

The Future of UDL

Take a look at what's next for UDL and the community it serves.