Technology in the classroom can be a powerful equalizer. It provides a level
playing field where all learners can develop the necessary skills to thrive in a
digital world — but only if every student is able to use the devices.
Accessibility is a key factor in the success of any mobile
learning program. Yet many schools fail to address it until after devices
have been purchased and teachers are left scrambling to find online tools to
meet the needs of students with disabilities.
“Accessibility is often an afterthought. There are pockets of practitioners
who are doing a great job, but on the whole I don’t think accessibility is part
of the conversation when we’re talking about technology,” said Jennifer
Courduff, who develops courses on digital teaching for Azusa Pacific
When developing a mobile learning program, avoid these common accessibility
1. Neglecting to use built-in features.
While most mobile devices offer a variety
of accessibility features, “many people just don’t know what’s there, so
they’re hunting around for apps, tools and software when it’s right there in the
device,” Courduff said.
“Discovering guided access is a moment of thrill for everyone,” she said.
“There are a lot of educators who are working with students who have behavior
disorders, and if you give them a device, they will play with the apps and not
stay where they’re supposed to stay. Guided access locks the device into one app
so the student can’t get out of it.”
2. Leaving teachers to work in silos.
For integrating technology into diverse learning environments, studies have
shown that teachers are more likely to succeed with the support of a team. A
team approach provides teachers with troubleshooting help, a sounding board for
ideas and the chance to learn from each other’s experiences.
“Talking deeply about appropriate technology is huge,” Courduff said.
3. Failing to provide sufficient training and support for mobile
It’s common for a school or district to focus on choosing and
purchasing mobile devices without planning for the training and maintenance
needed to make the technology useful to students.
“Inevitably, somebody has to set the device up with apps appropriate for the
needs of each student,” Courduff said. “Teachers have so many students with a
wide variety of learning deficits and a wide variety of curricular or behavior
goals they have to target. They don’t have time to wrap their brains around how
to integrate mobile devices with kids.”
Accessibility should be a top consideration when choosing, preparing and deploying mobile
technology for classroom use.
“When the rubber hits the road, what it comes down to is that you have
nothing if you don’t have effective management and implementation of a device,”
Courduff said. “If you don’t know what the tools are and how to work with them
in a way that meets the learner’s needs, the device just gets left in the
Want to find out more about transforming mobile technology into a powerful
learning platform? Apply for our free Verizon
Mobile Learning Academy. Apply by Sept. 11, 2017, for the next cohort beginning on Sept. 25, 2017.