The purpose of this paper is to assist Ministries of Education, their donors and partners, and the practitioner community funded by and working with USAID to select, pilot, and—as appropriate—scale up ICT4E solutions to facilitate the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), with a particular emphasis on supporting students with disabilities to acquire literacy and numeracy skills. The paper focuses primarily on how technology can support skills acquisition for students with disabilities, while also explaining when, why, and how technologies that assist students with disabilities can, in some applications, have positive impacts for all students’ basic skills development.
In 2018, USAID released the Toolkit for Universal Design for Learning to Help All Children Read, section 3.1 of which provides basic information on the role of technologies to support UDL principles and learning in the classroom. This paper expands upon that work and offers more extensive advice on using ICT4E to advance equitable access to high quality learning. Like the UDL toolkit, the audience for this guide is mainly Ministries of Education and development agencies working in the area of education, but this resource can also be helpful for Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) and non-governmental organizations wishing to pilot or spearhead ICT initiatives.
Content for this paper was informed by expert interviews and reviews of field reports during 2018. These included programs associated with United Nations Zero Project, World Innovation Summit, UNESCO Mobile Learning Awards, and USAID’s All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development activity. Relevant case studies of many education programs integrating technology to improve learning outcomes for students with disabilities were summarized for this document.