Inspiration Just as buildings are planned before being built, students need to be given tools to learn early in life.
Addressing Diversity Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was created to meet the needs of all students and give all students the opportunity to be successful. Diversity is commonly found in schools today. “Universal Design for Learning helps meet the challenge of diversity by suggesting flexible instructional materials, techniques, and strategies that empower educators to meet these varied needs” (CAST, 2009).
3 Principles of UDL Provide Multiple Means of Representation Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
Representation When delivering concepts to children, we are accessing the students’ recognition networks. We process patterns and get information from our senses through this part of the brain (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). Each child has different experiences to connect with when being introduced to a new topic. Every individual also learns best through different senses. Each child is unique in the way he/she takes in and comprehends information.
Instructional Methods Auditory Visual Kinesthetic Verbal Address all types of learning by delivering the information in a variety of ways each day.
Action and Expression Allowing students to choose how to express what they know will access their strategic networks (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). The primary feature of this network is making plans. Just as the students take in information in different ways, they put out information in different ways.
Instructional Methods Allow the students to use VoiceThreads, wikis, imovie, blogs, and other tools to create products and SHOW what they know.
Engagement Getting students excited! The affective networks in the brain are accessed based on the studentsengagement levels. Finding students interests is important if you want the high level of engagement necessary for learning and retention to occur. There are widely different ways to recognize and react toemotions and there are no “regular” students (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009).
Instructional Methods Interest Take an interest inventory. Find out students’ likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. Let students make choices. Give students goals to work towards. Challenge students. Be supportive of the choices students make and the interests they have. What do you know? Where are you going? Self-reflection
Role of Technology UDL uses technology to create an educational environment that allows all students, including those with learning disabilities, to succeed in the regular education classroom. Technology can be used to reach all 3 networks: recognition, strategic, and affective. Technology can provide multiple means of representation for our students which accesses their Recognition Networks. We can use video representation, audio representation, pictures, music, and more with our students. Kinesthetic learners can take an active role in the representation through using laptops, SmartBoard pens, and iPod Touchs. Technology also helps us reach students' strategic networks. Our students can use technology in various ways to interact with the material and to demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts. For instance, students might complete a digital storytelling project, record a skit on a video camera, or type a paper on a word processor. Technology can also be used as a means to engage and motivate students which activates the Affective Learning Network. Technology can provide an authentic audience as well as variety to lessons.
Impact of UDL on Student Learning The need for classroom management and discipline issues will decrease because the students will be more engaged. Engagement will increase. All students will have the chance to be successful and achievement will rise. Students will be more confident because of their success. Students will become self-directed learners.
Resources UDL Lesson Builder http://lessonbuilder.cast.org/ “The CAST Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Lesson Builder provides educators with models and tools to create and adapt lessons that increase access and participation in the general education curriculum for all students” (CAST, 2005-2010). In order to incorporate UDL, we need to start with our lesson planning. The lesson builder will be a great starting point to incorporating UDL methods into the classroom.
Resources CAST Strategy Tutor http://cst.cast.org/cst/auth-login I find a major challenge with students is teaching them how to research a topic on the Internet. Strategy Tutor helps students read, research, and collect information on the Web. Strategy tutor provides help with vocabulary and allows the students to store their notes online. Professional development resources and a database of teacher-created lessons are available for teachers to access through Strategy Tutor as well.
Resources UDL Class Profile Maker http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/tools/classprofile.cfm UDL focuses on each individual learner in the classroom. CAST provides a profile making tool that allows the teacher to gather information about each student and analyze that information to see the strengths and weaknesses of the class. This tool can be extremely helpful when beginning to implement UDL into the classroom. At the very least, the tool will help the teacher to gain a better understanding of the students.
References Center for Applied Special Technology. (2009). UDL guidelines, version 1.0. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Brain research and universal design for learning. Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author.