Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Complementary Supports for the Achievement of All Students

Dr. Joy Zabala is a pioneer in special education and assistive technology. She is currently the Director of Technical Assistance for CAST and for the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM Center) funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education. The AIM Center provides knowledge development, technical assistance and leadership to assist state and local education agencies and other stakeholder increase the quality, availability, and timely delivery of accessible instructional materials to K-12 students with disabilities that hinder the use of widely used educational materials. She is a strong advocate of UDL, AT and AIM as complementary supports for the achievement of all students.

UDL, AIM and AT. What are these initiatives? How do they compare and contrast? In her presentation in the webinar to ISTE SIG, she discussed myths and realities related to the  purposes of UDL, AT, and AIM and the ways that UDL, AT and AIM work together as complementary supports for the participation and achievement of ALL students.

UDL, AT, and AIM are special education technology initiatives:

  • UDL (Universal Design for Learning) principles help educators proactively design goals, methods, materials and assessment that address the full range of student variability in today’s learning environments.
  • AT (Assistive Technology) ensures that individual students have the tools they need to participate and learn in whatever environments they find themselves.
  • AIM (Accessible Instructional Materials) ensure access to the content in educational materials used by all students

UDL is about:

  • Multiple means of representation, to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge
  • Multiple means of expression, to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know
  • Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation.

AT is about an individualized system of no tech, low tech, and high tech tools, strategies, and services that match a student’s needs, abilities, environments and tasks. AIM include materials designed or enhanced to be usable across the widest possible range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video). AIM and AT are two sides of the same coin, AIM is the content and technology is the delivery system.

In a world going digital, this does not seem to be a problem, right? Wrong! Many digital materials are NOT accessible!

So, Dr. Joy Zabala raised the awareness of PALM initiative, it is:

purchase accessible learning material

Please visit the following resource links to get the important information and resource links.

Archive information for this webinar:
Link to pdf of this presentation: Zabala.UDL.AT.AIM Presentation
Link to the webinar recording:

She gave this slide as the ending for all education stakeholders. Using technologies to reach every learner requires the actions from all of us. And it needs ongoing support and collaboration.

universal design for learning, assistive technology

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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