Tips for creating an inclusive learning environment with technology
Inclusivity is a crucial element in all learning environments. It is especially important to make sure learning environments are inclusive for those with special needs, international students, or those who just learn differently, so they have the opportunity to learn and experience the same education their pupils are.
However, sometimes it can be hard to think about what approaches would promote the inclusion of all learners. So here are some tips on ways you can use technology to provide an inclusive learning environment.
- Provide a virtual classroom
- Use closed captioning on videos and movies
- Provide text to speech programs in classrooms
- Use a smartboard in your classroom
- Play team building video games
Provide a virtual classroom
Providing a virtual classroom is an excellent way of using technology to provide an inclusive learning environment. Some adults and children are taking classes but may have physical or mental issues that prevent them from being physically in class at times. The reason could be that they require special care throughout the day that they couldn’t get in a classroom or have social anxiety and feel uncomfortable going to class.
Providing a virtual classroom will allow people who cannot comfortably leave their home for hours at a time to be able to learn and get the same education as those who attend class physically. Sometimes it’s even easier for someone not to get distracted and learn better if they are in a virtual classroom.
Use closed captioning on videos and movies
For accessibility, if you are showing a video or movie in your classroom, turn on closed captioning for it. Turning on closed captioning will be beneficial for those who have hearing difficulties, so they can learn the content from the video or movie of everyone else in the classroom who can hear it fine.
If you have a virtual classroom, make sure that your recorded videos or shared videos have the ability for closed captioning to be turned on so that everyone can watch it.
Closed captioning is also beneficial for people with English as a second language. Sometimes, hearing unfamiliar words or different accents can be hard to understand by just listening, but reading it can help with that.
Provide text to speech programs in your classroom
Another way to prioritise accessibility in the classroom is by making text-to-speech programs available in classrooms. It is a great way to make reading easier for those who struggle with it. For example, some people with visual impairments or dyslexia may learn better by listening rather than reading.
In this blog post, we list some great and free AAC tools to use in the classroom.
Use a smartboard in your classroom
Smartboards have become very popular in classrooms and have been shown to improve both interaction and inclusivity in classrooms. Smartboards allow teachers to explore different teaching strategies. In addition, kids are often are much more excited when they can participate with a smartboard in the classroom.
Did you know you can easily connect Cosmo Switch to your smartboard?
Cosmo connects to any device operating Bluetooth manufactured in the last 6 years. Simply enable Bluetooth on your device and find Cosmo on the list of devices.
If you want to see Cosmo in action navigating through different operating systems and software, check out this webinar.
Play team building video games
Some people might think that video games should not be played as a way to learn, but with all the different types of video games out there, some offer so much learning potential and also enable inclusive play. For example, Minecraft has proven to be beneficial as a collaborative game, according to Anton Petro in his Using Minecraft in Education study. Minecraft allows all players to collaborate and use strategy, problem-solving, and even math skills. Therefore, playing collaborative video games in the classroom is an excellent approach to promoting inclusivity.