3R Tool Design Description


Inclusive education is beneficial to all students regardless of their ability. Aside from academic performance, inclusive education helps improve "soft skills" like communication, social, and motor skills. (See "Literature Documenting Effects of Inclusive Learning" below).

Anecdotally from conversations with practitioners and education support staff - time, funding, personnel, knowledge, and adequate tools are significant factors to implementing aspects of inclusive education. Locating published literature documenting the cost of implementing inclusive education has been a challenge.

The 3R Tool is a design idea that aims to support inclusive learning in the classroom by:

  • providing a way for students to create their own adaptations and modifications to online learning content
  • facilitating multiple ways of self-expression, collaboration, and socialization through learning
  • creating opportunities for learners to teach and mentor each other
  • freeing up teacher time by empowering students to create resources they need

Literature Documenting Effects of Inclusive Learning

Students with learning differences, especially with "severe disabilities", are locationaly or socially excluded from their "typically developing peers". Osgood, 2005

Students with severe disabilities in inclusive settings have greater improvements to their communication compared to students in segregated settings.

  • Snell and Eichner (1989).
  • Foreman, Arthur-Kelly, Pascoe, and Smyth King (2004)

Students with severe disabilities who are able to access the general curriculum benefit because it promotes communication, motor, and social skills, and helps students build friendships (Copeland et al., 2004; Ryndak & Billingsley, 2004)

Inclusive education through:

  • Accomodation - anything employed to help a student gain more access to the general curriculum or assist in their overall education (Hitchcock et al., 2002).
  • Modification - the adapting or interpreting of a school's formal curriculum by teachers into learning objectives and units of learning activities judged most reasonable for an individual learner or particular group of learners (Comfort, 1990, p. 397).
  • Curriculum modification - changes made to what is expected of the student, the way the course is taught, and the tools used to teach the course. Examples of adaptations that might be considered by stakeholders in schools include: allowing students with disabilities to use counting aids to help with difficult arithmetic problems or allowing the student to act out instead of write down the solution to a theoretical problem (Janney & Snell, 2006)

Co-operative learning improves academic for all students regardless of their ability (McMaster & Fuchs, 2002).

Collaborative learning allows peers to fulfill roles such as tutors, guides, and readers - enabling development of key skills like coordination, social, and communication skills. (Downing & Peckham-Hardin, 2007), (Kennedy & Itkonen, 1994)

3R Tool Design Idea

Create a tool that enables rich social interaction, mutual growth and progression, autonomy, and self-agency for students through supporting reflection, reacting, and refining (3Rs). Tentatively this tool is called the "3R Tool".


  • a way to intentionally document, record, and optionally share stories and thoughts
  • typically an individual process
  • these thoughts may be private, but others may be invited in to share in them
  • examples: a journal, blog / vlog


  • similar to reflection, but more spontaneous in nature
  • unlike reflection, the individual may seek a response and feedback.
  • while reactions may be private, reaction may also be social in nature and aims to solicit reactions from others
  • collective and communal reactions can create interesting dynamics which can include or exclude individuals
  • examples: comments on videos, texting / DMs, social media, "react" videos and other media


  • the process in which an idea, thought, or knowledge changes and evolves over time
  • tracking the evolution of an idea, thought, or knowledge may play an important role in a student's learning
  • examples: a sketch book, rough drafts, code repositories, wikis

How 3R Tool Could Work

3R tool can:

  • accommodate students as they move along the continuum between reflection and reaction while they learn.
  • value the process of learning (not just the end result) by providing ways to record the evolution of ideas and thoughts over time.
  • enable students to be content creators by giving them tools to author, share, and remix creations.
  • enable students to be teachers by giving them tools to interact and collaborate.
  • Reflections and reactions can take many different forms and modalities, and can be used to "annotate" web content (like Hypothesis, but free-form and multimodal).
  • allow students to see reactions and reflections from peers and respond to them.
  • iterate reflections and reactions and see their progress over time.

Broader Benefits

This design can have different positive effects:

  • primary content becomes stretchy because it can be adapted beyond original intended use.
    • i.e. Students and others can add their own reactions and reflections as a way to annotate web content.
  • learners become content creators and can teach each other.
  • give agency and voice to thoughts and opinions that might otherwise be overlooked or unnoticed.
  • value the process of learning by allowing students to see their progress over time.
  • the 3R tool could also be used to create adaptations and alternatives to content (i.e. reactions and reflections isn't limited to personal response to content, but can also be enhancements or supplements to the material).
    • i.e. a student may create or link to a transcript of a video.
    • this could also be an interesting way of sharing learning preferences - i.e. a student can create a high contrast version with captions for audio content and share that.
  • Metadata tagging can be included and could be a way to crowd-source tagging and content-matching

Measuring Outcomes



  • Osgood, R. L. (2005). The history of inclusion in the United States. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press.
  • Snell, M. E., & Eichner, S. J. (1989). Integration for students with profound disabilities. In F. Brown & D. H. Lehr (Eds.), Persons with profound Disabilities: Issues and practices (pp.109-138). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
  • Foreman, P., Arthur-Kelly, M., Pascoe, S., & Smyth King, B. (2004). Evaluating the educational experiences of students with profound and multiple disabilities in inclusive and segregated classroom settings: An Australian perspective. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 29(3), 183-193.
  • Copeland, S. R., Hughes, C., Carter, E.W., Guth, C., Presley, J.A., Williams, C. R., & Fowler, S.E. (2004). Increasing access to general education: Perspectives of participants in a high school peer support program. Remedial and Special Education, 25(6), 342-352. 
  • Ryndak, D. L., & Billingsley, F. (2004). Access to the general education curriculum. In C. H. Kennedy & E. Horn (Eds.), Including students with severe disabilities (pp. 55-56). Boston: Allyn & Beacon. 
  • McMaster, K. N., & Fuchs, D. (2002). Effects of cooperative learning on the academic achievement of students with learning disabilities: An update of Tateyama- Sniezk’s review. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 17,107-117.
  • Downing, J. E., & Peckham-Hardin, K. D. (2007). Inclusive education: What makes it a good education for student with moderate to severe disabilities? Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32(1), 16-30. 
  • Kennedy, C. H., & Itkonen, T. (1994). Some effects of regular class participation on the social contacts and social networks of high school students with severe disabilities. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 19, 1-10.