Mary Moore, a third grade teacher at Jason Lee Elementary in Richland, WA, is using technology to actively engage all of the students in her diverse classroom. She has students with a wide range of characteristics with respect to hearing abilities, health, learning, and English language proficiency. For some students, these differences qualify as disabilities; for others, English is their second language.
Through a minigrant from AccessSTEM at the University of Washington, Ms. Moore purchased the Classroom Performance System. This system allows her students to interact and answer questions via wireless keypads. It also provides them the opportunity to create whiteboard movies to demonstrate their knowledge. Using the Classroom Performance System, students who typically shy away from answering questions are now eagerly participating in class discussions. Additionally, Ms. Moore concludes that being more engaged in their learning is a contributing factor in the increased scores on standardized tests in science, math, and writing of these students. Although there are access issues that would need to be dealt with for future students who might have visual or mobility impairments, Ms. Moore is prepared for a combination of assistive technology, accommodations, and support from the vendor to come into play should that situation arise.
Ms. Moore's use of technology with her students is a promising practice because it leads towards the vision of a universally designed classroom that allows all students an equal chance to participate and demonstrate their knowledge. It also allows Ms. Moore to evaluate her students learning in real-time and adjust her teaching appropriately.
AccessSTEM minigrants were funded under The Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM, Research in Disabilities Education award # HRD-0227995).