Thursday, April 21
10-11:30 p.m. EDT | 9-10 p.m. CDT | Pajama Sessions, VR 108
Global Trends in Education and Literacy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Virtual Panel)
Research shows that children experience greater reading success when learning in their local spoken or signed language. According to UNESCO, children taught in a language they understand are more likely to enroll and succeed in school, and their parents are more likely to communicate with teachers and participate in their children’s learning.
And yet, of the estimated 32 million deaf children globally, 80% do not have access to education and only 2% receive education in sign language. Without early access to language, children fail to develop social and cognitive skills at the same rate as their peers, hindering their ability to learn to read and write and isolating them from society over the course of their lives. Research shows that early exposure to sign language and multilingualism, combined with strong family support for sign languages, best prepares children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) for effective participation in society. In this panel we will look at some of the ongoing work to support the growth of foundational literacy and early grade reading skills for DHH children and their families globally. We will provide a retrospective on some of the EdTech solutions developed under All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development to support DHH children and their families. An overview of deaf education will also be provided, including some of the current challenges facing deaf education professionals, and some of the existing work to create accessible and culturally relevant sign language tools, materials and resources in Asian and African contexts. Additionally, we will present on existing work to create foundational literacy skills for DHH children and their families using Sign Language Rhyme and Rhythm and Shared Bilingual Reading Strategies.
- Valerie Siwotso, Program Manager, All Children Reading
- Sergio Ramírez-Mena, ACR GCD Chief of Party
- Chris Kurz, Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf
- Michael Vea, Professor and Consultant, Philippine Federation of the Deaf
- Leala Holcomb, Teacher and Consultant
- Krishneer Sen, Managing Director and Consultant, Deaf Consultancy Pacific
- Susan Thuo, Project Coordinator, eKitabu
- Josh Josa, Disability Inclusive Education Specialist, USAID Center for Education
View or download the CIES – Global Trends Info Sheet, which contains resources and research related to the panel.
Friday, April 22
7:00-8:30 a.m. EDT | 6-7:30 a.m. CDT | Pajama Session, VR 135
UDL in Action: Tools to create–and coach–literacy learning environments to accommodate learning differences and enable full participation of children with disabilities (Virtual Panel)
Literacy skills are a fundamental component of most daily living skills. However, UNICEF estimates that 90 percent of children with disabilities in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) are not receiving any form of education. Children with disabilities remain among the most marginalized in access to education, a challenge further compounded by poverty, inaccessible environments, social isolation, and conflict and crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic. As the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030, more must be done—and quickly—to ensure learning environments are designed to be accessible, with appropriate tools and resources for children with disabilities to realize their full potential. Once in school, teachers are often not trained in how to effectively teach core academics, such as literacy, to students with different types of disabilities. As a result, many students with disabilities are illiterate as they have never been given the opportunity to learn and reach their full academic potential.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is critical to advocate for an educational future that speaks for all. Tools to create–and coach for–literacy learning environments can accommodate learning differences and enable full participation of children with disabilities in any learning environment. ACR GCD and World Vision partnered with CAST to REIMAGINE existing literacy programs through a universal design for learning lens (UDL), with a particular focus on monitoring and coaching for teachers at school and parents at home. UDL is based upon the most widely replicated finding in educational research: learners are highly variable in their response to instruction. In virtually every report of research on instruction or intervention, individual differences are not only evident in the results; they are prominent. UDL treats individual differences as an equally important focus of attention. In fact, when viewed through the UDL framework these findings are fundamental to understanding and designing effective instruction. (CAST (2018) Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2)
At the same time, ACR GCD supported several organizations transitioning effective approaches to Ed Tech-supported learning for children with disabilities to scale in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Nepal, Rwanda and the Philippines.
The panel proposes a sequential order of presentations to accompany the audience through a step by step journey starting with the basic UDL concepts, presenting an overview of UDL tools, and concluding with on-the-ground projects that are successfully adapting their reading programs to incorporate UDL principles.
The presentations for this panel are designed as a teaching sessions where participants will engage to:
- Understand WHAT the UDL Guidelines and UDL Framework are and Visualize WHY they are important to facilitate learning to read,
- Understand HOW to adapt commonly used tools for teacher & caregiver monitoring and coaching to incorporate the UDL Guidelines.
- Gain contextual understanding through examples of UDL application in ACR GCD challenge awards.
The panel will provide participants a unique opportunity to learn from three leading practitioners about the benefits and challenges of adapting and pivoting reading programs that have embedded UDL and its guidelines.
- Michelle Oetman, Senior Program Manager, Convenings & Integration, ACR GCD (Chair)
- Allison Posey, CAST (Presenter)
- Alodia Santos, World Vision International (Presenter)
- Shelly Malecki, World Vision (Presenter)
- Joanie Cohen-Mitchell, Policy and Technical Leadership Lead, USAID Center for Education (Discussant)