Sunday, May 1, 2011

Workshop To Address Barriers To Education

The belief that a one-size-fits all classroom doesn't have to be the norm is the theme at the Universal Design Workshop to be hosted June 17 at Tennessee Tech University. Universal Design for Instruction and Learning is a framework for designing educational environments that allow all students, including those with disabilities, access to curriculum including classroom materials, technology and assessments.

This workshop, hosted by TTU's Millard Oakley STEM Center, will provide an overview of the research behind Universal Design.

"This workshop will provide multiple and flexible instructional strategies to meet the diverse needs of secondary and post-secondary students with and without disabilities and will help attendees to develop an awareness of how to reduce barriers to curriculum," said Laura Graves, assistant professor in TTU's College of Education and workshop chairperson.

Keynote speaker Steve Fadden is vice president for Research and Institute Operations at Landmark College and director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training. He will lead several sessions:

*Overview of Universal Design, Effective Instructional Practices
*Assistive Technology to Promote Learning
*Transition Solutions for Students with Asperger's Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities.

Special speaker Sheryl Burgstahler, an affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle, focuses teaching and research on the successful transition of students with disabilities to college and careers and on the application of universal design to technology, learning activities, physical spaces and student services in educational settings.

TTU representatives Helen Dainty, Chester Goad and Graves will present special sessions.

Dainty, assistant professor in TTU's curriculum and instruction department, has taught all levels of special education for more than 20 years and currently teaches pre-service teachers and graduate students working on licensure in special education. She is currently the president of TN- International Dyslexia Association and the principal investigator for SPED Institute and BASE-TN at TTU.

Goad, director of TTU's Disability Services and adjunct instructor, specializes in disability and public policy, teacher education, dyslexia and leadership. He is president-elect of TN-AHEAD and Region 3 vice president and public policy chairperson of the Tennessee Dyslexia Association.

Graves' specialty is modified special education where she teaches both pre-service and graduate students. She taught in the Tennessee public schools in both special and general education classrooms for 18 years. She serves on the board of the International Dyslexia Association and has presented at both state and national conferences.

Registration will be available online through May 31 for $75. Snacks and lunch are included in the registration fee. To register or for more information, visit