Synthesis and design workshop: Designing STEM learning environments for individuals with disabilities


PI: Sheryl Burgstahler
University of Washington
Award Details

This workshop will convene January 15-18, 2019 in Seattle, WA.
Learn more and apply.

This workshop is funded through the “Dear Colleague Letter: Principles for the Design of Digital Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Learning Environments (NSF 18-017).” This workshop is led by the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington and will inform the design of the next generation of digital learning environments for STEM through addressing issues relevant for individuals with disabilities. This project will advance knowledge relevant to improving the success of individuals with disabilities in digital learning environments and foster synergistic and lasting relationships among participants that will result in systemic changes toward more inclusive digital learning. These efforts will serve to broaden participation in STEM by improving learning environment design based on the unique expertise and perspectives of individuals with disabilities, making online opportunities more welcoming and accessible to everyone.

The workshop is grounded on four research questions: (1) What challenges do learners with different types of disabilities face in using current and emerging digital learning tools and engaging in online learning activities? (2) How do current digital learning research and practices contribute to the marginalization of individuals with disabilities? (3) What advances in digital learning design are required to support multi-modal learning and engagement that is fully accessible to and usable by students with disabilities? (4) What specific actions can digital learning researchers, funding agencies, educators, and other stakeholders take to systematically address issues with respect to disabilities? To address these questions, an interdisciplinary team will create an online community of practice and a synthesis and design workshop to synthesize and integrate existing research related to the accessibility of digital learning to students with a variety of disabilities. Outcomes of the workshop include a white paper that contributes to the development of forward-looking, highly adaptable, distributed, collaborative digital environments that can personalize learning for diverse learners that include individuals with disabilities with potential applications across multiple and varying (a) domains of knowledge, (b) learning contexts, and (c) time spans. The project will also develop guidelines for how researchers can address disability/accessibility-related issues with respect to (a) designing and testing new technologies, (b) analyzing and reporting outcomes, and (c) designing project activities and resources.

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