Dave Edyburn, Ph.D., Department of Exceptional Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, emphasizes the importance of access: "When a student cannot acces curriculum learning materials, it follows that s/he will not be able to engage in learning nor meet the intended learning outcomes".
One form of access that Edyburn highlighted is cognitive access, which must be considered when working with young children, students with cognitive disabilities, individuals with language and/or communication impairments, and students whose first language is not English.
In order to provide cognitive access in a diverse classroom, teachers must build a learning environment that supports cognitive processes. One particular online resource that supports cognitive access, and can also function to assess student learning, which Edyburn mentioned is Inspiration.
Inspiration applies visual learning methodologies – using graphical ways of working with ideas presenting information – to engage students learning and understanding of the information. By using visual modes of expression to represent information and adding links to create relationships, students can organize knowledge and convey the skills they are learning. For instance, in Language Arts studies, inspiration helps students bridge the gap between visual and verbal modes of communication so that students are able to brainstorm, analyze, organize, draft, and revise essays.
Also available on this site is kidspiration, which was created for K-5 learners, that uses proven principals of visual learning to strengthen reading and writing skills, builds conceptual understanding in math, and develops thinking skills across the curriculum.