OSERS calls for openly licensed software to differentiate materials for students with disabilities

Teachers often spend valuable time adapting digital and online materials to meet the unique learning needs of students with disabilities. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is looking to digitize that process with a $1 million grant to fund a research and development center that would develop software to adapt and customize digital materials for children with disabilities.

The openly licensed software should enable teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of these students, according to OSERS’ announcement in the Federal Register this month.

“These adaptations would maintain the same learning objectives but present material in a mode that is both accessible to the student and personalized to his or her needs,” OSERS said.

According to the announcement, the software should be able to:

  • Provide user preferences and controls that automatically adapt instructional material to use an equivalent or alternative resource, such as text passages at different Lexile levels or mathematical equations with whole numbers instead of fractions or decimals.
  • Self-adjust so that material is presented at appropriate instructional levels based upon an individual child’s input.
  • When possible, be embedded during the production of the digital materials.

The grant is available through the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program.

Applications are due July 10.

Jennifer Herseim covers Section 504, education technology, and Common Core issues related to special education for LRP Publications.

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