Consultative meeting on Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities

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UNESCO in partnership with Microsoft Corporation is organizing a meeting entitled "Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities: A Dialogue among Educators, Industry, Government and Civil Society" to take place from 17 to 18 November 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. This event will facilitate a deep and multi-stakeholder dialogue on the challenges of and practical solutions for promoting personalization through technology in the classrooms for students, particularly with learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

Education leaders around the world are focused on preparing students in primary and secondary schools for tomorrow’s world, with the objective of helping each one meet his or her maximum potential. This focus, combined with the realization that every child learns in a unique way, is at the heart of “personalized learning.”  As educators have endeavored to reach this goal, technology has emerged as a key component in making personalized learning a reality.

As personalized learning shifts the focus from what is being taught to what is being learned, the student’s needs and style become more central and the role of technology becomes clearer. Personalized learning requires attention to the unique needs of all students of all abilities—particularly students with learning differences as well as mild, moderate, or severe disabilities.

The personalized learning vision is realized when only technology is accessible to every student—regardless of ability. Therefore, providing accessible technology in the classroom to students with learning differences and disabilities is critical to enable all students to have the engaging educational opportunities and realize the vision of personalized learning.

As students are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their learning and for using technology to acquire new skills, schools have a responsibility to provide accessible technology that can be personalized for each student’s learning and physical needs. In addition, educators need to acquire a critical mass of competencies and skills to accommodate schoolchildren with learning difficulties and physical disabilities, adapt teaching methods and apply new tools.

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