EDTH.X310 Assistive Technology for Learning Differences

The following is from the UCSC Extension course description and registration webpage:


Assistive Technology for Learning Differences

Technology can help struggling students leverage their learning strengths and bypass weaknesses to improve performance, independence, and self-confidence. In this online course aimed at teachers, learning specialists, educational therapists, and parents, you will learn about a wide range of tools to support students with learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), executive functioning deficits, and issues with processing information and memory. Through readings, lectures, video demonstrations, and hands-on activities, you will learn:

  • How various tools address specific learning needs.
  • How to match students with appropriate tools.
  • Practical methods and strategies to implement technology solutions and integrate with curricula.
  • How technology can facilitate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) practices in the classroom.

Topics Include

  • Components of an effective AT solution
  • Basics of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)
  • Tools and associated strategies for various academic tasks
  • Applying a process for tool selection, implementation, and evaluating effectiveness

Necessary Knowledge (skills needed)

To be successful in this class all students should have working knowledge of:

  • Communication and collaboration tools such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, or LibreOffice
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas including navigation links, modules, etc.

We recommend students understand the basics of using the Google Chrome browser (e.g., installing Chrome extensions) and Google Core Apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive.

Students should have a basic understanding of the academic challenges faced by individuals who have learning disabilities, ADHD, and executive function issues. This can be satisfied in various ways, including (but not limited to):

  • Professional experience addressing the needs of students with learning differences.
  • Completion of "Understanding Learning Differences" (EDTH.X309) or equivalent coursework.
  • Prior review of material on learning differences (provided by the instructor).
  • Other requisites may be approved in advance by the instructor.

Additional Information (instructional methods and tools needed)

Instruction is primarily online and asynchronous (self-paced) and includes comprehensive reading material with diagrams, videos, photos, tables, and links to additional web-based resources, plus self-guided activities. Live weekly Zoom sessions supplement the online instruction with class discussion and technology assistance. Recognizing that everyone's interests, background, technology skills, and professional focus are different, individualized online guidance is also available as needed. 

Hands-on exploration of certain technologies is an essential part of this course. For these activities, students will need access to the following minimum tools, as listed below:

  • A computer: A PC with Windows 10 or above, a Mac with macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or above, or a Chromebook with latest Chrome OS.
  • The Google Chrome browser or Microsoft Edge browser.
  • A personal Google account (recommended: new Google account specifically created for use with this course).
  • Need the ability (permissions) to download and install free and trial software, especially Chrome extensions.  Specific titles to be provided in class.