Welcome to Inclusive Education.

Digital technologies


Increased access to digital technologies can enable more inclusive and personalised learning pathways through the curriculum, especially for those students who need additional supports to learn.

Students and teachers can work together to find the most effective ways to integrate digital technologies into learning environments: removing barriers to learning, providing increased choices matched to student needs and interests, and expanding collaboration opportunities.

Creating engaging environments and sustaining motivation

Motivation, self-regulation, and sustained effort all depend on engagement. Use technologies to stimulate interest, provide relevance, support creativity, and create collaborative learning experiences for all students. 

Storybird, a free digital story writing tool, has made a significant impact on the literacy development of students at Te Kura o Kutarere. Teacher, Susan Lee explains how. 

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Writing using a keyboard (NZ) (video)
1:1 Netbooks

Teva, a year 5 student at Parkvale School, found writing “a chore”. He reflects with his mum and teacher, Kieren Moriarty, on the impact a netbook and collaborative online environments have made. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Writing using a keyboard (NZ)
Albany High, Passion projects (NZ) (video)
Connecting passions to learning

Albany Senior High School staff describe how they collaborate to create learning environments where students can connect to their passions. Students are closely mentored in tutor groups so no-one gets left behind.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Albany Senior High School (NZ)

Albany High, Passion projects (NZ)
Attention and concentration suggestions

18 Interesting ways to use a visualiser in the classroom, curated by UK teacher Tom Barratt.

View the three examples below for more information. 

  1. Model skills rather than just talking or without everyone having to crowd around a table.

  2. Magnify details on an object to help students focus on specific details.

  3. Peer review lesson work by magnifying a piece of students’ work or project and highlighting critical features.

Attention and concentration suggestions
Turn on the captions

Using YouTube as a more effective teaching resource

Build in learning supports at the outset by selecting video that has closed captions (accurate subtitles, not those guessed by YouTube).

By turning on the closed captions you are providing choices for students, so they can:

  • watch the video
  • read the closed captions
  • access the interactive transcript available below the video (really useful when hunting for a specific quote).

For more information, view these weblinks:

Turn on the captions

Resources and downloads

Free technology toolkit for UDL in all classrooms

A collection of free tools and resources, aligned to Universal Design for Learning approach, that support students in their learning.

Universal Design for Learning

Online discussion group and resource hub for conversations about how to sustainably design learning that works for all students and considers and builds their wide ranging strengths, needs and experiences in the Virtual Learning Network (VLN).

Can the iPad reach children that other technology can’t reach?

Discussion thread in the VLN initiated by Karen Melhuish Spencer of CORE Education.

Time management tools (video)
Use visual timers

For many students, especially those with ADHD and autism, being able to see a visual representation of time passing can support their time management.

Search “visual timers” online, or access the Time Timer Apps, to find timers that might be useful for your students.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Time Timer (US)

Time management tools
Personalisation tools (video)
Explore Evernote Clearly

A universal online tool with a built-in range of features to support different needs and learning preferences, including text-to-speech options, saving highlights, and customising text by colour and size.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Evernote YouTube (US)

Personalisation tools
Giving students time

Some students, particularly those with dyslexia, will need extra time to complete assignments and projects. These students may also need ongoing support to plan and manage a task to ensure it is completed.

Discuss with students the most effective ways you can collaboratively use technology to support their learning. For example, consider using the comment function in Google Docs to provide timely support and encouragement.

Giving students time

Resources and downloads

Graphic organizers

A wide range of graphic organisers from Education Oasis that can be printed and some that can be filled out online. These are also useful as a starting point for creating students’ own designs.

With project management app Trello, it's all in the cards

A video and introductory content for students to Trello, a tool that supports project-based learning.

Using technology at Silverstream School (NZ) (video)
Using technology to support independence

Primary teacher, Linda Ojala describes how she utilises a range of digital technologies to remove barriers to learning and increase options for all students.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using technology at Silverstream School (NZ)
Using netbooks at Tamaki College

How technology is making a difference

English HoD reflection: The netbook programme at Tamaki College has had a significant impact on students’ engagement and achievement.  The HoD of English highlights five ways in which technology is making a difference. Students can:

  • access work in their own time and work at their own pace
  • customise the environment and tools so they are the best fit for them (for example, font colour, text-to-speech)
  • connect to media, resources and experiences (for example, personal photos in flickr or Instagram, a blog post on a festival)
  • find an authentic audience for their writing through publishing work online
  • access immediate feedback and questioning, which is equally available to all students – not only to those who are confident to ask questions.
Using netbooks at Tamaki College
24/7 access to learning

Rephrasing schoolwork and homework

What changes is the way you do learning and teaching. We're trying to get rid of two phrases, ‘schoolwork’ and ‘homework’. We just want to talk about learning. So you do it at home, at school, in the park – wherever you are. We're trying to get [wireless access] in the park.

Source: New Zealand Herald: Russell Burt, Principal of Point England School
24/7 access to learning
Chromebooks reduce barriers to learning

Chromebooks can provide easy access to resources that support students specific learning needs

By providing students with easy access to the curriculum while avoiding anxiety-inducing triggers, Chromebooks enable students to work without distraction. The effectiveness of Chromebooks can be enhanced by using online resources and Chrome extensions such as:

  1. specialised web apps – see Google accessibility

  2. screen readers

  3. speech-to-text, for example Voice recognition

  4. screen magnifiers

  5. curriculum resources

  6. collaboration tools.

Source: Educational Technology Guy

Chromebooks reduce barriers to learning

Resources and downloads

Learning Exchange

The search portal for the Learning Exchange, a Ministry of Education brokerage site that enables connections between teachers and learners; joining clusters, schools, and individuals who are learning through online and blended programmes.


An explanation of what e-portfolios are, why they are used, school stories describing how they are used, resources, research, and readings on the Enabling e-Learning: TKI website.

Seesaw: student driven digital portfolios

Seesaw is a multi-platform e-portfolio app which provides a way for students to share their work, and receive feedback from their teachers and families.

Supporting students using Chromebooks

A resource outlining how Chromebooks work, and some of their key accessibility features. It includes sample workflows demonstrating how Chromebooks can be used to reduce barriers to learning and support engagement.

A primary school TV station (NZ) (video)
Point England School TV station

Point England School TV has an international audience. Students learn video editing and participate in creating content for the videos. Students bring different skills and strengths, and are not limited to communicating with text.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Point England School (NZ)

A primary school TV station (NZ)
Using video conferencing (NZ) (video)
Expanding learning options

Access support, expertise, and knowledge beyond the classroom. Link to students and teachers in other schools, local whānau and community members, health professionals, experts and specialists.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using video conferencing (NZ)
Class blog (image)
Room 2 blog
Connecting with other students

Morningside School students share their learning through the class blog. They connect with the wider community and other schools. In this blog post a new student is introduced to the community using multimedia, including an image and QR codes.

Source: Room 2 Morningside School

Class blog
Virtual field trips (image)
LEARNZ teacher, Andrew Penny
Take a LEARNZ virtual field trip with Andrew Penny

Introduce your students to a free programme of virtual field trips taking students to remote parts of New Zealand, Antarctica and beyond. LEARNZ uses a range of multimedia to engage and support students.

Source: LEARNZ (NZ)

Virtual field trips

Resources and downloads

Beyond the classroom

This section of the Enabling e-Learning website provides information, resources, and school stories about engaging with students, families/whānau, and the wider community.

Getting to know learners and using e-portfolios

John Robinson, HoD learning Support at Onslow College, reflects on the impact of using ePortfolios to share learning beyond the classroom in this video.

Seesaw: student driven digital portfolios

Seesaw is a multi-platform e-portfolio app which provides a way for students to share their work, and receive feedback from their teachers and families.

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Supporting independent access to learning materials

Consider where digital technologies can enable students to access learning in ways that work more effectively for them. Use digital technologies to connect to students’ skills, interests and strengths and to increase engagement and participation.

A look at the assumptions schools make to justify not using technology.

Source: Don Johnston Incorporated (US)

No captions or transcript available

Suggestions and resources

Benefits at Parkvale Primary (NZ) (video)
Accessing digital writing environments

Parkvale Primary School teachers explain how a digital writing environment removes barriers to literacy. It increases engagement and enables students to demonstrate hidden skills and talents (part of a longer video). 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Benefits at Parkvale Primary (NZ)
Using digital text

Digital text is already a primary medium for communication and collaboration both in and beyond school. It is superseding print in multiple contexts.

Digital text can be:

  1. adjusted so that the style, size and colour of fonts are the best fit for the student

  2. converted to speech using a text-to-speech tool, to help students who need support with reading or who prefer to listen to information rather than (or in addition to) looking at it

  3. adapted to include embedded supports, including definitions and background information; these can help students access new vocabulary and improve comprehension and can provide background knowledge when the subject is unfamiliar

  4. used in online environments and supports collaboration without the restrictions of time and distance.

Using digital text
Suggestions for using text-to-speech
  1. Listen and read along with unfamiliar texts to develop reading fluency.

  2. Access texts beyond the students’ reading level.

  3. Listen to audio while doing another activity, such as exercise, travelling or resting the eyes.

  4. When editing writing, select sections of text and listen back for errors and fluency.

Suggestions for using text-to-speech
Text-to-speech tools

Offer free text-to-speech tools to all students across the curriculum.

  1. Natural Reader download – This is a floating toolbar. Selected text will post into toolbar window. Text is highlighted in short sections and read aloud. It can sync with Google Docs.

  2. Natural Reader Online TTS – To use: upload a docment, highlight text in short sections, which will be read aloud. It can sync with Google Docs.

  3. Mac text to speech – A built-in text to speech program. It "speaks" selected text in all applications including text on internet pages.

  4. Read and Write for Google Docs – This toolbar opens at the top of a Google Docs page. Selected text is highlighted yellow. Each word is tracked in blue as it is read aloud.

    Note: After 30 days of registering, premium features are reduced and users have access to the basic TTS tool.

Text-to-speech tools

Resources and downloads

How text-to-speech technology can help journalists avoid copy errors

An blog post by a US journalist describing how she uses a text-to-speech tool to improve her writing. This is a useful concept to share with older students.

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

A video introducing text-to-speech to access digital text. Developed by US educator Kit Hard.

Useful tools

Digital tools available to support independent learning and collaboration

Make effective use of online environments such as your school Moodle or class websites to support students’ learning. Alongside assignment briefs and related resources, offer students a range of tools to support independent learning and collaboration such as:

  1. graphic organisers

  2. study skills and productivity tools

  3. multimedia and digital storytelling tools

  4. research tools

  5. text-to-speech tools

  6. maths tools

  7. writing tools.

Useful tools
Utilising video (video)
Doodling in math: spirals, Fibonacci and being a plant

Vi Hart has turned exploring maths concepts into an animated art form. Introduce her work to students alongside similar video resources from the Khan Academy or Ted Ed to support student engagement.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Vi Hart (US)

Utilising video
Using laptops at Kutarere School

The benefits of using laptops

It’s what to do with that imagination that has been a stumbling block with a pen and pencil. Having a laptop where it’s so easy to change an error etc. has allowed that creativity to be completely limitless.

Principal Te Kura o Kutarere ; Source: Benefits of using laptops in the writing process
Using laptops at Kutarere School
Supporting learning (image)
Screen Shot technology toolkit
UDL technology toolkit

A collection of free tools and resources aligned to the Universal Design for Learning approach to support students in their learning.

Source: Karen Janowski and Joyce Valenza (US)

Supporting learning
Using Google sites at Tamaki College (video)
Flipping learning for maths

Teacher, Noelene Dunn’s Google site supports a flexible and inclusive approach to learning. Students can personalise their learning and choose when, where, and how they will work.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling eLearning

Using Google sites at Tamaki College

Resources and downloads

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at a glance

An introductory video to the research-based approach called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). A useful starting point to support the selection of digital tools and resources to meet the diverse needs of students.


A class blog from Parkvale Primary School, illustrating the wide range tools and resources, including Minecraft, used to support learning.

Voicethread in education

Voicethread is a tool that enables both students and teachers to use any media or mode to participate in conversations. Here are a selection of Voicethread examples collated by teacher, Suzie Vesper.

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Providing multiple ways to create, learn, and demonstrate understanding

Select digital technologies based on the diverse learning needs of your students. Offer and support flexible learning pathways.

Primary teacher Linda Ojala describes her inclusive approach to utilising a range of digital technologies to meet the wide and varied needs of students in her year 3 class.

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ) 

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Useful presentation tools

Consider tools that offer multiple ways for students to create and share their learning and enable students to bring together text, photos, video, and audio and work in partnership with others.

Here are some examples of tools that can be used by students of all ages:

  1. Book Creator for iPad

  2. Voicethread

  3. Glogster

  4. Explain Everything

  5. Prezi

  6. Powerpoint, Keynote, and Google Slides

Useful presentation tools
Using Prezi, Tawa College (NZ) (video)
Using Prezi to collaborate at secondary school

Nigel Mitchell, HOD English, and students in his class talk about the benefits of using Prezi to collaborate and take control of their own learning.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using Prezi, Tawa College (NZ)
Supporting differentiation (video)
Digital technologies for independent learning

Jan Heffernan, Deputy of the junior school at Brisbane Boys’ College, talks about differentiating technology to suit the needs of students.

View transcript

Source: EDtalks (NZ)

Supporting differentiation
Netbooks at Parkvale Primary

Teva, a year 5 student at Parkvale Primary School, talks about Netbooks.

In my last year I wasn’t so good at writing, but since I have my laptop I’ve been able to type fast, and I’m doing year six writing now, instead of year five. I had to write down letters individually but now I can quickly type them all at once.

Student at Parkvale School ; Source: Netbooks - an "onramp" to success in literacy
Netbooks at Parkvale Primary

Resources and downloads

Software for learning

The Enabling e-Learning website provides a range of stories from New Zealand primary and secondary schools describing how they have used technologies as part of their learning design for students.

UDL Support resources

A collection of tools and resources aligned with the nine Universal Design for Learning guidelines to help teachers select tools that meet the diverse needs of learners

Using Voicethread (video)

Voicethread is a tool that enables students and teachers to use any media or mode to participate in conversations.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Convergence Solutions (US)

Using Voicethread
Options for writing (NZ) (video)
1:1 Netbooks

Tyler, a year 6 student at Parkvale Primary School, explains how using a keyboard to write has enabled him to share his ideas. As a student with dyspraxia, having to use a pencil was a barrier to his participation.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Options for writing (NZ)
Developing a student toolkit

Provide opportunities for students of all ages to develop skills with a number of tools so that they have them in their own toolkit

Create opportunities for students to become confident:

  1. recording their voices

  2. using text-to-speech software

  3. editing video

  4. writing and editing collaboratively on Google Docs

  5. creating slide presentations

  6. designing infographics

Developing a student toolkit
Gaming at high school (NZ) (video)
The Impact Project

Students at Albany Senior High School participate in their self-chosen Impact project one day a week. Students develop and share their gaming skills, demonstrating levels of creativity that might otherwise remain hidden.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Albany Senior High School (NZ)

Gaming at high school (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Gaming in education | An Enabling e-Learning webinar and discussion

A rich resource of discussions, a webinar link and a slide presentation on Gamification with a focus on Minecraft in the Enabling e-Learning VLN group.

Voicethread in education

Voicethread is a tool that enables both students and teachers to use any media or mode to participate in conversations. Here are a selection of Voicethread examples collated by teacher, Suzie Vesper.

Ideas from students with dyslexia (image)
Virtual classroom
Students with dyslexia share feedback and ideas for effective classroom practice

Visit the 4D interactive virtual classroom

Source: The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand

Ideas from students with dyslexia
Self advocacy (NZ) (video)
Customising access to learning

Matt is a Year 13 student at Wairarapa College. He has low vision. He reflects on his use of technology, effective partnerships with teachers, the need for self-advocacy skills, and a sense of humour to make school effective for him. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: BLENNZ (NZ)

Self advocacy (NZ)
Designing online environments

Suggestions to support the design of effective online environments, such as blogs, wikis, and moodle, for students

  1. Keep the design simple.

  2. Use a clear predictable structure to help students find what they need.

  3. Reduce visual and auditory clutter. (Students with ADHD and autism may also find this strategy useful.)

  4. Support navigation with both high contrast text and visual cues.

  5. Check with students that the way you are organising instructions and resources is working for them.

  6. Hyperlink to visual calendars and mind mapping options to support planning.

Designing online environments
Digital tools support reflection (image)
Parkvale student blog
Reflective blog posts from Parkvale Primary school

Class and student blogs service multiple functions, including as a tool for reflection and self-evaluation.

Source: Parkvale School student blog

Digital tools support reflection
Flipping learning
6 steps to take when flipping your classroom

Students learn at different rates, and flipping learning provides more opportunities for processing and retaining information.

These 6 steps provide a guide to flipping learning in your classroom:

  1. Plan: Identify what information and resources would make a difference for students needing extra support e.g embed or create an instructional video, link to practice games, create a quiz.

  2. Record: Make or select a video, choose online practice activities, create a quiz, link to useful information that incorporates key information and steps for learning.

  3. Share: Share the information and resources with your students and their whānau, on your website or blog. Provide clear learning intentions and instructions for use.

  4. Teach: Explore the learning intention in depth with students, and identify where further support is needed.

  5. Practice: Give students a followup task to apply their learning, this can be a group or individual task.

  6. Regroup: Bring students back together to share their learning. Encourage them to revisit the online information and resources as needed to reinforce understanding.

Source: eLearning Infographics

Flipping learning

Resources and downloads

Graphic Organizers

Advice about how to support students in the effective use of a variety of graphic organisers on the Resources for Teachers website.

With project management app Trello, it's all in the cards

A video and introductory content for students to Trello, a tool that supports project-based learning.

Designing for student engagement and comprehension

A slideshare created with CAST’s Book Builder tool, which models the use of avatar coaches to support the learner.

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