This website was developed with a U.S. Department
of Education grant on Steppingstones in Technology
Innovation for Students with Disabilities. The
grant was entitled “Field Testing the Learning
Toolbox: An Instructional Resource Website for
Students with Mild Disabilities, Parents, and
Teachers.” This website was being field-tested
using the criteria of understandability (ease
of navigability), accessibility for students with
reading and attention disabilities, and usability
(i.e., whether the strategies on the website are
put into practice by students, teachers, and parents).
This website should contribute to the more effective
use of technology for improving the ability of
students with disabilities to meet the rigorous
academic demands of the general education curriculum,
pass high stakes tests, and successfully meet
the academic requirements of postsecondary education.
The Learning Toolbox was developed as part of
the Model Demonstration Project for Improving
Postsecondary Education for Students with Mild
Disabilities, a U.S. Office of Education grant
awarded to James Madison University. The purpose
of the Project was to develop, implement, and
evaluate the effectiveness of course-specific
strategy instruction with college students who
have learning disabilities and ADHD. This one-on-one
instructional approach significantly helped students
improve their academic performance. One of the
goals of this project was to share what we have
learned. This website provides a way of sharing
this approach so that others might use it.
We were especially eager to share the approach
with high school students with mild disabilities,
their teachers, and their parents. We believe
that high school students who use this approach
will be better prepared to meet rigorous academic
challenges of high school and college. Consequently,
the strategies and examples of how to apply these
strategies to specific courses have been tailored
to the needs of high school students.
Other JMU faculty and staff who assisted with the development
of the Learning Toolbox were Lou Hedrick, Jeff Kushner, Richard
Clemens, and Richard Ingram. Lou Hedrick, Director of the Office
of Disability Services, provided input for making the website
accessible to student with disabilities. Jeff Kushner provided
expertise in multimedia design, while Richard Clemens assisted
with instructional technology considerations.
Support JMU Faculty and Staff:
The website has been developed to be responsive to the specific
needs of students with learning disabilities and ADHD. Features
of the website that respond to these needs include: reduced amounts
of text for reading; use of graphics to enhance the meaning of
the reading material; a consistent structure of accessing the
various Learning Toolbox sites; and elimination of distracting
stimuli such as non-purposeful animations and sound effects. Clinton
Sower, a JMU graduate student, was instrumental in integrating
these features into the design for the Learning Toolbox.
The following students were instrumental in continuing the work
of Clinton Sower in constructing various aspects of the website:
The following students assisted in the construction of new strategies
and were the strategy instructors for the college students in
To all of the above students, the faculty express
heartfelt thanks for their professionalism and
their commitment to the Project and the website.
We wish to thank the JMU students who participated
in the beta testing which allowed us to develop
the evaluation forms used with the students.
Special thanks to Rockingham County, Virginia
Schools and Becky Hill Shifflett for the help
in securing high school students to participate
in the beta testing phase of the project.
The Video demonstrating the use of the Learning
Toolbox in the section on Teacher Directions
was designed and produced by David Allsopp.
Stacey Jones and Jennifer Belcher ably performed
the teacher and student roles in the video.