The timing of this topic could not have come at a better time. We have been struggling with our Economics and Personal Finance hybrid course this year in terms on not reaching all of our exceptional learners. The format has required teachers of the course to incorporate modules for 60% of the course. In the past, this has not been a major issue. This year however, we are in a panic trying to find a solution. We have a student who is legally blind and finding a solution to adapt the modules so he is able to access them has been a struggle. We also have other exceptional learners who are not able to process the content as they are reading through the modules. We are waiting on approval to initiate two solutions to this problem.
I found an article that seemed to be written specifically for college level online learning environments, but since we our trying to get our students to become “college and career ready” I was interested to investigate the similarities and differences in what was suggested for meeting these students’ needs. The article is titles Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities in the Online Classroom. I simply went to Google and searched “online courses for students with learning disabilities.” The article identified 4 things an online teacher can do to help students with learning disabilities; open and constant communication, compassion, a willingness to bend the rules to accommodate students, and one-on-one instruction. I was shocked that differentiation was not a best practice that was suggested.
In my modules I plan to offer multiple activities to cover each lesson and let the students choose which one they wish to complete. For example, I may offer reading an article, watching a video clip, or a combination so they can choose which works best for their learning style, exceptional learner or not.