Universal Design for Learning Brain Researched Best Practices By Aaron Hansen
Inspiration for UDLRon Mace’s universal design principles for buildings and architecture. Ramps, in addition to stairs Lower counters for individuals in wheel chairs (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009)
Why UDLUDL was created “to provide a blueprint forcreating instructional goals, methods, materials,and assessments that work for everyone.”“The burden of adaption should ﬁrst be placedon the curriculum, not on the learner.” (Center for Applied Special Technology, 2009)
How UDL Works“UDL is a set of principles for curriculumdevelopment,” not a prescription but guidelines,that give all individuals equal opportunities tolearn” regardless of their strengths, weaknesses,or learning preferences.UDL encourages teachers to look beyond theinﬂexible, one-size ﬁts all curriculum thatplague our schools. (Center for Applied Special Technology, 2009)
Beneﬁts of UDLAlthough the beneﬁts of UDL practices are mostnoticeable when working with students withdisabilities, the beneﬁts of using UDL principlesextends to all learns.
UDL’s Three Principles
Representation (Input Methods)Provide students with multipleoptions for interacting with andabsorbing information.For example: Provide visuals, audio, and printed text for students with different learning preferences. (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Expression (Output Methods)Allow students different avenuesfor demonstrating what they know.For example: Allow written responses or oral responses to assessments. Incorporate problem-based and project based learning. (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Engagement (Motiving)Student interest and enjoymentprovides the sparks that propelsstudent learning.For example: Some students respond well to novel and spontaneous environments. Others thrive when they can predict routines (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Representation OptionsAudio Opportunities Audio recordings to measure ﬂuency, or assessment answers. Podcasts of distributing recorded reading material eReaders or Tablets to provide text-to-audio tools for struggling readers As well as fast access reference material
Representation OptionsContent Management Systems To provide multiple assignments/ assessments depending on which novel a student selects To provide assessment options to match student needs To create a single access point for all online resources (text articles, podcasts, videos, etc.)
Expression OptionsAudio recording via podcastsVisual/ multimedia demonstration via GlogsterWritten/ Text based expression via blogs anddiscussion forums
EngagementAnything visual especially multimedia materialAny time students have the opportunity to becreativeAny time students have the opportunity to learnin a social context (CMS or Personal Learning Communities)
Brain ResearchThe brain processes information in 3 different ways. Rose & Meyer label these Recognition Networks Strategic Networks Affective Networks These closely match the three UDL principles Recognize Expression Engagement (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Recognition Network Focuses on recognize and assign meaning to patterns Is central role is to identiﬁes and understand information, ideas and concepts. (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
ImplicationsTeachers should provide information in both part-to-whole and whole-to-part structures.Provide multiple examples to help studentsrecognize patterns as well as non-examples.Highlight critical features.Provide multi-sensory material (audio, video,textual, tactile, kinesthetic)Engage background knowledge (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Strategic NetworkProcesses information anddetermines what to do with itIs responsible for planning,conducting and monitoring ouractions. (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
ImplicationsAllow and encourage ﬂexible demonstration ofmastery of skills and knowledge.Provide time and space to practiceProvide feedback throughout the learning process (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Affective NetworkEvaluates experiences and attachesemotional signiﬁcanceLeads to motivation and level ofengagement (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
ImplicationsOffer choices of content and learning experiencesProvide material and experiences at various levelsof challengeCreate time and space for all desired learningenvironments. (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Tech. & Brain ResearchBrain research helps us understand why technologyis so particularly powerful in education.Because technology is so customizable, it allowsthe teacher or learner to make adjustments at theindividual level to support and enhance learning.
Example-Recognition NetworkAn eBook can be used by all students.However, ELL students will be able to quickly andseamlessly look-up or translate unfamiliar words bysimply tapping an unfamiliar word.A struggling reader, or a blind student can have thetext read to them.Teachers can even provide multiple texts at variousreading levels and allow students to privatelychoose the most appropriate for their reading level.
Example-Strategic NetworkTo provide feedback throughout the learningprocess: Use Google Docs and having students share their documents with the teacher can allow you to monitor progress and offer feedback throughout the writing process (not just at the end when papers are turned in).
Example-Affective NetworkTo provide material and experiences at variouslevels of challenge Use a content management system (CMS) like Moodle or Blackbaord to post multiple versions of a text for students to read. In addition to the original complicated text, another version might have callout boxes to provide background knowledge or vocabulary support. Another might be abridged or summarize just the key concepts.
CAST Tools & Resources
Read the Words www.readthewords.com
Read the Words www.readthewords.comThis tool converts text to speech (including a videoof a talking avatar). It can convert Word, PDF, andwebsites to a video or audio ﬁle (which can then betransferred to an iPod).This tool is so easy to use that we could createaudio ﬁles for all of our documents and have themposted on our Moodle sites thus giving students theoption of listening to the text instead of reading it.Paired with the original text, these ﬁles would giveour struggling readers (or visually challengedstudents), an alternative way to engage thematerial.
Read Write Think readwritethink.com
Read Write Think readwritethink.comThis site is a wealth of L.A. resources. It includesmany interactive tools for students and curriculumresources for teachers.Brieﬂy outline how your school could use eachTo enhance your efforts to meet the diverse learningneeds of your students as well as your academicgoals
UDL Tech Tool Kit http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/This public wiki provides a growing plethora ofonline tools for a variety of instructional purposes,including reading, math, writing, and collaboration.One size does not ﬁt all learning styles or teachingstyles. It’s as important for us to have a list of toolslike this as it is for us to have a speciﬁc UDL tool.
ReferencesCenter for Applied Special Technology. (2009). UDL guidelines, version 1.0.Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelinesLaureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program four. Brain Research and Universal Design for Learning. [Motion picture].Reading and Engaging All Learners Through Technology. Baltimore:MD.Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age:Universal design for learning. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/