Increase accessibility for all learners in a blended learning environment
For a blended learning environment to be beneficial for students with a wide variety of learning needs and levels of learning effectiveness, K-12 teachers need to ensure that classroom environments digital and physical facilitate accessibility for all learners as a top priority.
The only way a classroom or digital learning environment is set up can mean everything when it comes to your students’ ability to concentrate effectively. As schools around the world now begin to evolve their classrooms into modern, mixed learning environments, how these classrooms respond to accessibility issues becomes increasingly crucial.
In short, teachers and administrators should do their best to eliminate harmful distractions that could essentially make learning inaccessible to students with certain challenges or special needs.
Less is more when it comes to focusing on students in the classroom
According to recent studies, excessive visual clutter and stimuli in the classroom can be extremely detrimental to the general orientation of the student and retention of concepts. This is especially true for students struggling with the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder.
The urge to decorate a classroom with bright colors and posters makes sense, especially when responding to the whims of a younger student body. However, teachers and administrators should be aware of how students with different needs might be adversely affected by such excessive stimuli in the classroom.
Classroom walls don’t need to be sterile, but a less cluttered approach to what’s on the walls will improve accessibility for students of all kinds. Less clutter when it comes to seating arrangements and fixed desks is also a good approach, especially when trying to make learning accessible to students with mobility issues.
If possible, teachers and administrators should consider alternative seats and arrangements which increase the space and reduce the detrimental clutter both visually and from a layout point of view.
Pay attention to accessibility issues in the digital classroom
In a blended learning environment, accessibility in the digital learning space is just as crucial as addressing accessibility issues in the physical classroom.
Administrators and teachers should be mindful of the presentation of digital learning materials. Too much distraction and moving parts can be just as damaging as too much clutter in a physical learning space.
Educators should also control the online homework and worksheets they hand out to students, especially if those students need to use a screen reader. These students will not be able to access the embedded links, so it is essential that an alt text be provided to them to ensure that they can access the necessary learning materials.
These mixed classes using Microsoft teams Where Google classroom may review the accessibility functionality of these particular applications to ensure that the particular needs of their students are fully addressed. Planning ahead for potential conflicts with student accessibility is crucial to ensure that all learners have a chance to be successful.
Educators should place student accessibility as a top priority when arranging physical classroom space and online materials essential to a blended learning environment. If a student is left out when he does not need to be, it is a failure.
A little forethought and an emphasis on simplicity / lack of clutter will do wonders for your students and their special learning needs.