The complete presentation is available at our wiki: http://sharingudl.pbworks.com/
Jane and Paul half-hour presentation on the basics of Universal Design for Learning. Paul will present on the UDL features contained in selected assistive technology software…about another half hour. After that, we will attempt to have at least a stretch break, depending on how people are feeling…up to 15 minutes. Paul will continue presenting on UDL features of selected Web 2.0 Software…about another half hour.
Universal Design for Learning is the brain-based brainchild of Harvard educators David Rose and Anne Meyer. We brought David Rose to BC in the fall of last year to present on Universal Design for Learning, and David’s presentation is archived on the BC UDL website. In that presentation, David went into great detail about each of the words, Universal, Design, and Learning, so I am going to do the same in a very condensed form.
What is meant by the term Universal? I want to emphasize that Universal does NOT mean that one size of curriculum fits all. It means just the opposite. The meaning of universal in Universal Design for Learning is summed up in this quote by special needs advocate Rick Lavoie. Instead of teaching to the average student in the classroom and having to “fix” the students who don’t fit this average mold, Universal Design says that we will plan for the diversity in our classrooms right from the start. We will fix the curriculum first, so we don’t have to fix the students later.
The concept of Universal Design is borrowed from architecture. On the left, you see an old style building that was not universally designed. Because these buildings were created for the average user who does not have a problem with stairs, they must now be retrofitted with ramps and elevators to make them wheelchair accessible. The building on the right has been designed from the start, taking into consideration the needs of multiple users. In architecture, Universal Design means that features which make a building accessible are built into the original design instead of added to an older structure afterwards. The interesting development is that enhancements such as ramps and curbcuts, in addition to providing wheelchair access, also make the buildings friendly to people pushing baby strollers, riding bikes, roller-blading, skate-boarding, delivering goods, or pulling suitcases or computer cases. Similarly, closed captioning and speaker phones, originally developed for the hard of hearing have also proven to be useful adaptations for everyone. In general, accommodations created for a subset of the population usually result in increased benefits for everyone.
Universal Design for Learning is based on the learning theories of Bloom and Vygotsky, who each proposed three types of brain-based processes that occur during learning. Bloom’s Cognitive domain was responsible for processing information, knowledge, and mental skills. His Psychomotor domain was responsible for manipulative, manual, or physical skills. And the Affective domain is responsible for attitudes and feelings. Vygotsky called these same networks the recognition, strategic, and affective networks.
With the help of brain imaging technologies, scientists have recently been able to show neurological evidence for the functioning of all three networks. Brain Research is the starting point for UDL. Photo prd brain scan from Flikr Creative commons
The CAST team combined Bloom’s and Vygotsky’s ideas with the concept of Universal Design in architecture to propose three key concepts for their theory of Universal Design for Learning. In order to support the brain’s recognition networks, UDL uses multiple means of representing curriculum content. Multiple means of representation provide learners various ways to acquire information and knowledge. To support strategic networks, UDL advocates the use of multiple means of expression. Multiple means of expression provide learners with alternatives for demonstrating what they know. To support affective networks, UDL advocates using a variety of ways to motivate and engage students according to their personal interests and abilities. Multiple means of engagement tap into learners interests, challenging them appropriately and motivating them to learn.
David Rose and associates have broken down the three main UDL principles of multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement into a series of sub-strategies called the UDL Guidelines. At the CAST Institute, educational researchers and neuroscientists are collaborating to vet every single one of these guidelines with research. So when you adopt these UDL principles in your teaching, you are already starting with a solidly research-based approach. If you look at this guidelines, you will see that many of these strategies are just plain good teaching.
Where does technology fit into UDL? UDL does use a significant amount of technology. But it does not use technology for the sake of using technology. When technology is used in the UDL classroom, its use is determined by the UDL guidelines. But many of those guidelines are just plain good teaching. So the question arises can you “do UDL” without the technology? I would say that a teacher can embrace the basic philosophy of UDL without using any technology. However, adding technology to your repertoire definitely increases your ability to differentiate instruction. Anita Strang quote: The classroom teachers have been provided with a variety of technology tools (teacher laptops, Smartboards, projectors, and access to a shared set of student laptops), and they have been involved in ongoing professional development helping them learn about useful software and websites for making their lessons more accessible for their students. While we have amazing teachers at our school who are eager to reach all of their students, prior to having these tools the prospect of differentiation was daunting. Technology has made differentiation more accessible for teachers. So what does this look like in practice?
Teachers already understand that it’s important to present information to students in different formats. They may also use visuals such as maps, charts, posters, and videos, bring in guest speakers, and go on field trips.
If you have a computer, projection system, and Internet access you can add dramatically to your multiple means of representation. Is your class learning about volcanoes? Do a Google Search and download one of 85,000 PowerPoint presentations on volcanoes that have already been uploaded by other educators. Do your children love Robert Munsch books? Why not go to his website and have Robert Munsch himself read his books to your class? Are you studying polar bears? Why not view polar bears live at the San Diego Zoo webcam? Want to hear an astronaut in space chatting with students on earth? No problem…NASA has it online or you can download it to your iPod.
Teachers have also provided multiple means of representation in materials. They might provide a range of texts at different reading levels or having a teaching assistant or peer tutor read to students. Some teachers have provided materials in enlarged format or paper Braille for students with visual impairments. What to watch a video try Teacher Tube…
Today’s digital media allow for even more flexibility in the representation of materials. Do you have a gifted student with a learning disability who can’t work independently because he can’t read? Try Kurzweil. Kurzweil is an integrated scan/read/write tool that is independent of content. Students can scan in any written text and then use the Kurzweil program to read the text. They can look up words and synonyms by clicking a button. Students can adjust the size and appearance of text and the speech and type of reading voice. They can also easily convert the text into an audio file that can be played on an mp3 player such as an iPod. In addition, teachers can use features like Sticky Notes and Bubble Notes to prepare texts for student use, adding instructions or questions to guide their reading.
Today’s digital media allow for even more flexibility in the representation of materials. Do any of your students have trouble comprehending what they read? Try a series such as Scholastic’s Thinking Reader. This series provides digital versions of novels like Tuck Everlasting which contain supports designed according to UDL principles. The program can not only read the novel to the student but prompts the student to use reading strategies such as summarizing, clarifying, visualizing, reflecting, questioning, predicting, and feeling. The student can also adjust the appearance and size of the text and the speed and type of reading voice. Students keep reading logs, and take quizzes, and teachers can monitor their progress with the novel.
Teachers sometimes allow students to demonstrate their learning by different means such as dictating to a scribe, giving an oral report, performing a skit, or creating maps, models, diagrams, or artwork. This is the UDL principle of multiple means of expression. One of the main tenets of UDL is that teachers must be careful not to confuse their goals with the means used to demonstrate that goal. For example, if a teacher asks the students in her class to write an essay describing the habitat of polar bears, she is confounding the learning goal “demonstrate knowledge of the habitat of polar bears” with the means used to show that goal, “writing an essay”. It is still possible for students to demonstrate their knowledge of polar bear habitat without writing an essay. That doesn’t mean we give up on writing essays. At another time, “writing an essay” becomes the goal and the teacher using UDL principles builds in supports to assist students who will have difficulty writing an essay.
Digital media provide even more flexible ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge and to work independently. Do your students have trouble organizing their thoughts before they write? They can use concept-mapping tools such as Inspiration to help organize their ideas. Do they have trouble staying on task as they write? They can use pre-made templates in Word or PPT to help scaffold their writing. Do they have trouble reading back what they wrote because of spelling mistakes? Students can type or dictate text with auditory or picture support. They can use a built-in dictionary, thesaurus, word bank, word-prediction, and spell checker to assist with vocabulary and spelling. Do your students have talents other than writing? They can give a PowerPoint Presentation, create a slideshow or movie, record an interview, create a podcast, contribute to a blog or wiki or draw.
Teachers have long known that students will be more motivated and engaged if the content interests them. We know that our aboriginal students will be more engaged if we honour their culture. We know that kids will stay up all night reading…if the book is Harry Potter. We know that students can memorize names, dates, places, facts and figures …if we’re talking Pokeman cards or Vancouver Canucks.
But many teachers have not yet realized that students will also be more motivated and engaged if the tools they are using engage them. Our students are writing constantly…they’re writing emails, msn messages, and texting on their cell phones. They’re playing video games. They’re downloading, remixing, and burning music CDs. They’re taking digital pictures and movies. When you can’t program your DVD player or figure out your cell phone, who do you ask? Why aren’t we using computers, iPods and mp3 players, video games, and cameras in education? The kids already know how to use this technology. Within a few years, most kids will be walking around with inexpensive computers in their pockets. They’re called smart phones, and most schools are banning them.
We also know that our learners come to us with different learning styles. The work of Howard Gardner shows that students have strengths and weakness in a variety of different kinds of intelligences. Many students today come into the classroom speaking a language other than English. Our Aboriginal students, have unique cultural differences and learning styles. Students may have special needs such as autism, visual impairments, hearing impairments, or physical disabilities. Attention Deficit disorder is on the rise. The number of students with learning disabilities is increasing. Many students have special social and behavioural problems. And what happens to the gifted child in the average classroom? The mythical classroom of 25 typical kids and only 2 or 3 students with special needs simply does not exist. Diversity is the new normal and that is why it is necessary to differentiate instruction.
In the previous slides, we have seen some good reasons for using digital media in teaching. But the best reason for using digital media and technology to teach is that our students are already digital learners. According to Futurist Mark Prensky, our students, having grown up in a digital world, are what he calls digital natives. Most teachers, having grown up in a print-based world, are digital immigrants. Even those of us who have learned technology later in life still speak slowly and with a distinct accent. According to Prensky, “… the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.
Is UDL just another flavour of the month educational theory? I don’t think so. Diversity in our student populations is the new normal and UDL provides a way to address that diversity. Technology is ubiquitous in our world, and UDL incorporates the use of technology in a way that is educationally driven and not just tech for the sake of using technology. Legislation has already been created in the US which specifies that curriculum must take diversity into consideration. Universal Design for Learning is mentioned several times in that legislation. I believe that planning for diverse needs in education will become a human rights issue in the same way that planning for physical access has become a human rights issue.
For more information, see the website at CAST. You will get to know their book, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age very thoroughly. You have a choice of reading either the print version provided for your team or reading it online at the CAST site. http://www.cast.org/
Udl Port Alberni
(UDL) Universal Design for Learning and (AT) Assistive Technology *Adapted from a presentation by Mallory Burtton and Paul Hamilton
The Plan <ul><li>What is Universal Design for Learning? </li></ul><ul><li>Software Features that support: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Means of Representation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Means of Expression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Means of Engagement </li></ul></ul>
Multiple Means of Representation in Materials goes Digital <ul><li>Accessible Books from SET-BC www.setbc.org </li></ul>
<ul><li>Multiple Means of Representation in Materials goes Digital Kurzweil ARC-BC resources www.arc-bc.org electronic text (e.g. .txt, .rtf, .kesi), talking books (e.g. .ppt), MP3, Braille, and tactile graphics </li></ul>
Multiple Means of Representation in Materials goes Digital Thinking Reader by Scholastic Start to Finish Books by Don Johnston
Kurzweil and the IRPs and PLOs Language in the IRP’s reflect a UDL perspective
21 st century learners video <ul><li>A Vision of K-12 Students Today </li></ul>
Diverse Learners <ul><li>Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles </li></ul><ul><li>ESL </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Differences </li></ul><ul><li>Special Needs </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Social and Behavioural Needs </li></ul><ul><li>Gifted </li></ul>
Digital Learners <ul><li>“ Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach .” </li></ul><ul><li>— Mark Prensky (2001) </li></ul>
UDL and Human Rights Diversity in our student populations is the new normal and UDL provides a way to address that diversity.
Animal School <ul><li>Metaphor for why we should use UDL in Schools and when working with children. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>When you watch this video think of; </li></ul><ul><li>How you Learn...which animal are you? </li></ul><ul><li>How many children do you think we lose as a result? </li></ul>