Today's diverse classroom presents teachers with numerous challenges for making mathematical concepts accessible to all learners. Classrooms consist of students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities along with students that are racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse. All of these students must have a solid grounding in mathematics to function effectively in today’s world.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards describe equity as “the equal opportunity to include high expectations and strong support for all students to learn mathematics”. The Equity Principle of the NCTM Principles and Standards states, “Excellence in mathematics education requires equity—high expectations and strong support for all students”. The writers go onto state, that “All students, regardless of their personal characteristics, backgrounds, or physical challenges, must have opportunities to study--and support to learn—mathematics." Therefore it is critical that as educators we consider ways in which we can make our math instruction accessible to diverse learners.
This month I will be attending two conferences in Orlando, Florida. The first, the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference, focuses on the use of various low to high technology solutions to assist students with disabilities in accessing, participating and progressing in the curriculum. The second, the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC), while it does not exclude the needs of students with disabilities, primarily focuses on instructional technology that addresses the general education standards. Having given presentations at each, I noticed a distinct difference in how participants at each conference approach the concept of accessibility.
My blog entries for the next few weeks will focus on various aspects of accessibility as the term relates for instruction for all students. The way I see it, there are three distinct yet important aspects of accessibility;
Given that ATIA is the first conference of the two that I am attending, I will begin discussing accessibility as it relates to students with disabilities in next week’s post. In the mean time you can check out the accessibility features that we have included in our software to meet the diverse needs of all students as they learn fractions. Of course I will also keep you updated on events and presentations that occur at ATIA.