Sharing Ideas and Building Resources Evonie Rash Walden University
“Universal design usually means creating buildings that are physically accessible to everyone, with hallways wide enough for wheelchairs,” he says. “But, in promoting ‘universal design for learning,’ we have to simultaneously confront the technological, social and psychological barriers to equal education.” Dr. Michael Hughes DiverseEducation.com
What is UDL? Under the 1997 IDEA reauthorization, all students, regardless of their abilities, must be given the opportunity to become involved with and progress in the general education curriculum. Every student must have access to what is being taught. Providing access, however, is more than supplying every student with a textbook or a computer. Teachers must ensure that students are actively engaged in learning.
To accommodate student’s individual needs and to give them the opportunity to progress in content areas, educators traditionally have made accommodations or provided assistive technologies. A more efficient and cost-effect way to provide all students access to the curriculum is to design curriculum, with built-in access for a wide range of users, including students with disabilities. Universal design implies a design of instructional materials and activities that allow learning goals to be attainable by individuals with wide ranges of abilities. What is UDL?
Universal Design for Learning UDL shifts old assumptions about teaching and learning in four fundamental ways: Students with disabilities fall along a continuum of learner differences rather than constituting a separate category 1 3 4 2 Teacher adjustments for learner differences should occur for all students, not just those with disabilities Curriculum materials should be varied and diverse including digital and online resources, rather than centering on a single textbook Instead of remediating students so that they can learn from a set curriculum, curriculum should be made flexible to accommodate learner differences
The framework of UDL consists of instructional approaches with choices and alternatives in the materials, content tools, contexts and technology supports. The strategies and practices in UDL draw upon the versatility of digital media and its capacity to be transformed and networked, therefore, enabling teachers to adjust instruction for the whole class, not just for individual students. UDL empowers teachers to teach every student. Universal Design for Learning
Neutral Networks of UDL Recognition- specialize to receive and analyze information (the “what” of learning) Present and connect information in different ways Strategic-specialize to plan and execute actions (the “how” of learning) Different ways in students expressing what they know Affective-Specialized to evaluate and set priorities (the “why” of learning) Stimulate interest and motivation for learning
The central role of technology in UDL is to provide students with varied ways of presenting and learning information. Technology and UDL We live in the 21st century where technology is the way of the world, therefore we must educate students accordingly.
Students must be allowed to view, utilize, present, and become comfortable with using and learning with technology. Technology and UDL
The essential features of universal design for learning have been formulated by The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) into three principles: *multiple means of representation *multiple means of expression *multiple means of engagement
Multiple Means of Representation The curriculum provides multiple means of representation. Subject matter can be presented in alternate modes for students who learn best from visual or auditory information or for those who need differing levels of complexity.
Multiple Means of Expression The curriculum provides multiple means of expression to allow students to respond with their preferred means of control. This accommodates the differing cognitive strategies and motor-system controls of students
Multiple Means of Engagement The curriculum provides multiple means of engagement. Student’s interests in learning are matched with the mode of presentation and their preferred means of expression. Students are more motivated when they are engaged with what they are learning.
Impact of UDL on student learning in Schools Lets Think for a moment Imagine walking into a classroom during a social science lesson and seeing this scene: Students scattered around the classroom – some at laptops using screen reading software, some at iPads listening to them, others using iPod touches to record notes, and some even reading the textbook and taking notes on paper. What would you think? Poor teaching? Bad classroom management? or UDL centered classroom? I hope you guessed the last choice!
UDL allows us to have hallways into every child’s brain wide enough for them to learn. We have to create learning spaces that allow all students the best opportunity to learn. Learners cannot be reduced to simple categories such as "disabled" or "bright." They differ within and across all three brain networks, showing shades of strength and weakness that make each of them unique. Brain Research: Learning Differences
UDL: Cultural Support, Ethnic, Linguistic, and Academic Diversity What we have come to realize through brain research is that there really is no such thing as a "regular" student. Because we all have different experiences, abilities, interests, etc., we all receive and process information differently. The three principles of UDL are designed to accommodate differences in these learning networks among students. Providing multiple means of representation accommodates different students' recognition networks. Multiple means of expression accommodates different strategic networks. Multiple means of engagement accommodates divergent affective networks. By following these principles, teachers can be more effective at reaching all of the students in their class.
CAST: Online Tools and Resources UDL Curriculum Self-Check http://udlselfcheck.cast.org/ Helps educators build options and flexibility into each element of the curriculum in order to reach and engage all students. UDL Guidelines http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines A set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to learn. Created at CAST and housed by the National Center on Universal Design for Learning. UDL Lesson Builder http://lessonbuilder.cast.org/ Helps educators to design lessons/units of study to meet the diverse learning challenges, skills, and background of students in today's classrooms.
My district will benefit greatly from using and implementing the online tools and resources provided by CAST.
Heighten student engagement
Aid teachers in planning and delivering lessons
Provide teachers with information as well as model lessons
Have a plethora of information at their fingertips
References: cast. (2011). Retrieved on july 14, 2011 from http://www.cast.org/udl/index.html.EdReach. (2011) Retrieved on July 14, 2011 from http://edreach.us/2011/05/11/what-does-udl-look-like/Universal Design for Learning. (2011). Retrieved on July 13, 2011 from http://www.patinsproject.com/universal_design_for_learning_project_files/u dl_new.pdf.