Good Morning! Today we are here to discuss and learn about how to assist all of our students here at Fulton Sunshine Academy Elementary. In education, we are all here for one reason, that’s right for our students. This morning we are going to be talking and looking at the principal of Universal Design for Learning and how it can benefit everyone.
First, what exactly is UDL? (ask for responses from the group) According to the center for leadership (2010), UDL is the process of designing and delivering curricula, materials and learning environments in a manner that makes them all accessible and usable to all students in our school.
By the end of this presentation, you should all walk away with a better understanding of basic UDL concepts and principals, an well as gain knowledge to take back into our classrooms and use with all students.
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, all students with disabilities should be provided access to the curricula, materials and opportunities as their non disabled peers. Of course their needs should be taken into consideration, where appropriate accommodations and modifications should be provided. There is no excuse by law for these students to not be provided what everyone else has. What do we mean by the phrase, aids and services? Correct, students with disabilities typically have plans in place which identify their strengths, weakness as well as what resources, accommodations and modifications which are most appropriate for them. Does this mean that only students with a 504 plan, or IEP need assistance? Of course not, this is where UDL will help not only students with disabilities , but even your average and above average students and those with unique ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These students may need assistance with accessing the curriculum.
In our schools and classrooms today, the main goal is to provide all students with opportunities for academic success, but how are we as educators going to do this? The principals of Universal Design for Learning can provide us with opportunities to allow students, no matter what strengths and weaknesses they may have to thrive. The basics of UDL allow for flexibility to occur in our teaching by introducing strategies, materials, and techniques that provide each student with what they need. Does this require time and effort on your part, of course. Concepts included in UDL can of course be provided without having to cost much money. Right now for the next ten minutes with your team, using the page included in your packet labeled low cost ways to use UDL in my classroom, list many ideas which you can already implement now.Now, lets share!
In our classrooms here at FSA Elementary, we have a mixture of students who are in need of assistance and differentiated instruction. Should we only provide differentiation for only these students, or can anyone benefit? The one size fits all concept is not appropriate for everyone and as we have already learned, all students can benefit from this.
UDL has three primary principles that will definitely assist us here at FSA meet the needs of our students. Each principle addresses concepts and ideas which will guide us to better meeting the needs of our unique population.
Principal one: Provide Multiple Means of Representation. What does this mean? Well, we need to first look at who our students are, where do they come from and what makes them each unique. Once you have taken that into account, now it is important to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as how they learn. We already do this at the beginning of the year by using inventories and surveys, pre tests and benchmark assessments which help in planning and preparing lessons and activities.
Principle 2: Provide Multiple Means of Expression. Once we have identified our students and their needs, we should look closely at how we are presenting material to them. Are we appropriately meeting the needs of everyone? Students may need to be provided notes, material may require more hands on learning opportunities and possibly more re-teaching and review is needed. Also, how are the students showing they have mastered the material? Paper and pencil tests may not be the answer for all, provide alternative methods for assessment.
Principle 3: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement. Are your students motivated to learn? If yes, are you keeping them actively engaged throughout the lessons, or do you need to make adjustments to get them interested? Not everyone enjoys learning new things and many times we need to address an alternative in case things do not happen as planned.
Now we are going to look more closely into how the brain works related to learning through three neural networks.
The brain is a wonderful and powerful tool for learning, and as we have already learned, all students think and learn in different ways. Research has provided the world of education a closer look at how we learn and process information using networks. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, described three such networks titled Recognition, Strategic and Affective.
According to Rose and Meyer (2002), Recognition networks are specialized to sense and assign meaning to patterns we see; they enable us to identify and understand information, ideas and concepts.
Located in the back of the brain, this allows us to interpret patterns, sound, light, taste, smell and taste. We are able to recognize things heard and seen such as voices, letters, faces and other objects. Not only are items and sounds recognizable, but the patterns associated with them such as categories. This allows us to acquire and store items into memory. For example: associating letter names and symbols provides for better reading fluency, another would be gaining number concepts which allows for stronger math fluency.
Strategic Networks are specialized to generate and oversee mental and motor patterns. They enable us to plan, execute and monitor actions and skills.
Located in the frontal lobe of the brain, this neural network is responsible for generating patterns for identifying goals, deciding on plans as well as self monitoring. This processing goes beyond the information acquired in the recognition network. With instruction, this area provides us to be able to plan out how we are going to do things, for teachers and students, this may be where someone breaks down an activity into pieces and to identify the main idea, or regulate our actions.
Affective networks are specialized to evaluate patterns and assign them emotional significance. They enable us to engage tasks and learning as well as the world around us.
Located in the inner core of the brain, this neural network is responsible for the processing of emotions. Affective networks provide a connection of an emotion to an action or exposure to stimuli. With instruction, a student may react differently to a learning task, ADHD and ADD students may become anxious, or become hyper as a result to their learning difficulties. Also, students with sensory integration problems (ADHD, Autism) may become suddenly over stimulated and react differently then their peers. Many students require interventions to accommodate their needs.
What role does technology play in the UDL process?
Assistive technologies typically are thought of being for disabled students only. Items such as wheelchairs, touch screens, adaptive keyboards, switches, voice output devices as well as tools which provide students opportunities to learn are considered to be assistive in nature. There are many items currently being used in your classroom which also are considered to provide students access to the curriculum and are used by all such as interactive whiteboards, spell checking capabilities in word processing applications, books on CD, slant boards, pencil grips, LCD projectors, manipulatives, videos, and of course interactive learning games found on the internet. Technology also provides teachers with opportunities to search for ideas and resources as well as to create materials in order to implement the ideas of UDL in their classrooms.
As we have already learned, children learn in a variety of ways and require different types of stimuli according to their needs. The principles of UDL allow for this to be implemented into instruction through first identifying student needs and matching that data with the appropriate methods of instruction. Visual learners learn by seeing and require graphics and pictures to accompany text and printed materials. This can be provided through books and videos. Auditory learners learn through hearing and can be accommodated by using books on CD, reading material aloud to them. Kinesthetic and tactile learners learn through moving, touching and doing and require more hands on learning opportunities where they are allowed to discover their environment.
According to Dr. Howard Gardner developed the concept of multiple intelligences and separated them into seven categories. Visual/Spatial intelligence describes students who are able to think using pictures and need to be able to create mental images in their minds in order for learning to be retained. They enjoy using maps, charts, videos, pictures and drawing. Verbal/Linguistic intelligence describes those students who have highly developed vocabulary and auditory skills. They think using words rather than with images. These students enjoy debates, teaching, listening and speaking activities. Logical/Mathematical intelligence describes those students who learn through reasoning and logic. They use numerical patterns and are curious to how things around them work. These students do best with problem solving, experimentation and calculations. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence describes those students who learn through movement. They have excellent hand-eye coordination and balance, prefer interaction with others, dancing, physical activities and using their hands to create. Interpersonal Intelligence describes the student who can easily relate to others and see others point of view. They are peace keepers and tend to be able to read others body language well. These students learn well with others. Intrapersonal Intelligence describes the student who is aware of their own inner state of being. They are able to identify and build on their own strengths and weaknesses.
On the CAST website, there are many, many online tools and resources available for teachers and administrators to use when implementing UDL in their school. The first I would recommend is the curriculum self check. This tools requires the user to answer a survey specific to their teaching and instructional styles where the end result provides you with an overview of where your strengths and weaknesses fall as well as recommendations how to make adjustments. A second resource is the online lesson builder. Here you can enter your lessons and easily tie in principles of UDL straight into the lesson where it appears. Finally, another free tool is the science writer. This interactive web based assists students when writing science reports. It breaks down the required sections to provide students with a complete report providing scaffolding, organization and structure specific to their topic. Additional resources such as publications can benefit everyone at FSA Elementary. Our school hosts students from a variety of cultural backgrounds and learning styles, as well as learning needs. Not only can integrating the principles of UDL into our curriculum will benefit our students, but also our staff and parents.
Universal Design for Learning Laine Pagan October 2010 FSA Elementary
What is UDL? According to the Center for Leadership in Education (2010), UDL is the process of designing and delivering curricula, materials, and enviroments in a manner that makes them accessible and usable to all students.
Goals To understand the concepts and principals of UDL Gain knowledge to apply these concepts into our classrooms.
Challenges of UDL According to IDEA act of 2004, all students with disabilities should be provided the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers as appropriate for their needs. Aids and services should be provided to access the general education curriculum.
References Center for Applied Special Technology http://www.cast.org/index.html Center for Leadership in Education http://www.centerforleadership.org/?q=node/31 IDEA (2004) http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences retrieved from http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/