It is accomplished by “simultaneously providing rich supports for learning and reducing barriers to the curriculum, while maintaining high achievement standards for all students”. (www. Cast.org) Universal Design began in the field of Architecture (Laureate, 2009b) when builders realized that current methods for creating access actually hindered certain groups of people, such as the physically handicapped, from moving freely from place to place.
Adopted by the Center for Applied Special Technology, or CAST, Universal Design morphed into the Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, as a means to transform the traditional one-size-fits-all educational schema that is designed to meet the needs of the large middle, but tends to exclude those with more diverse abilities, learning styles and preferences, or backgrounds
CAST understood that current educational practices failed “to provide all individuals with fair and equal opportunities to learn” (Cast, 2009a, p. 3) and that it was not the students who needed to be fixed, but rather it was the way in which they were being taught that needed to change. Instead of maintaining the status quo, Universal Design for Learning “focuses educators on developing flexible curricula that provides students with multiple ways of accessing content, multiple means for expressing what they learn, and multiple pathways for engaging their interest and motivation” (Howard, 2004) and, in turn, increasing achievement because teachers are not just imparting knowledge, rather the students are constructing it themselves.
Principle 1: Presentation To support recognition learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation. Instructional examples include: larger, formatted, and highlighted text, chunking, scaffolding, and utilization of supplemental resources.Principle 2: Expression To support strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship. Instructional examples include: alternative keyboards, digital text, and programs that record voices, draw, or write text.Principle 3: Engagment To support affective learning, provide multiple, flexible options for engagement. Instructional examples include: digital text, choices of media for interaction, and multimedia presentation programs. http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/chapter4_3.cfm
With the implementation of the three principles, UDL allows educators to meet the needs of all learners by building more flexibility into materials, techniques and strategies so that, from the beginning, the needs of the greatest number of users are being met; thus eliminating expensive and time-consuming changes to curriculum unnecessary once it is implemented.
Due to students differing in the way they view and comprehend the information being taught, teachers should provide multiple options for: › Customizing the display of information using both visual and auditory media Graphic Organizers Auditory Devises Podcasts Audiobooks › Defining and clarifying terminology Flash cards Electronic Dictionary Non-linguistic › Implementing strategies that increase comprehension Activate prior knowledge (KWL) Highlight the important points and ideas
Students differ in the way they navigate through any learning environment and in the way they are able to express that they know, teachers should provide options for: › Physical action and navigation through tools and assistive technologies Student response systems such as clickers or buzzers Manipulatives Interactive while boards Touch screens and keyboards › Increasing expressive skills and fluency through scaffolding, tools, and problem solving Oral VS written reports Digital storytelling Concept mapping › Implementing executive functions Teaching how to set goals through guides and checklists Support planning and strategy development via templates or think aloud Managing information and resources with organizers for data collection and guides for note- taking Monitoring students though self-reflections templates
Students differ in the way they can be engaged and motivated to learn, teachers should provide options for: › Recruiting interest through Providing choice and autonomy to increase self determination, pride, and connection Enhancing relevance and authenticity to increase real world value that means something to students. Allowing active participation, exploration, and experimentation › Sustaining effort and persistence by Creating persistent display of goals Visualizing and scaffolding of desired outcomes Scheduling tools Fostering collaboration and communication › Allowing self regulation by Guiding personal goal setting and expectations Teaching coping skills and strategies Developing self assessment and reflection skills
Key Ideas (Rose & Meyer, 2002): › Increased student diversity means a greater emphasis on standards and accountability and makes it harder for teachers to help all students achieve. › Research into the learning brain exposes learner differences and how to effectively use technology to increase motivation, engagement, and learning. › UDL maximizes rapidly evolving communication technologies to create flexible methods and materials that can reach various types of learners in ways that are more effective. › By making methods and materials more flexible, learning opportunities are maximized not just for students with identified disabilities, but also for every student. › UDL is not "just one more thing;" it is an vital element in improving student learning and it is well-suited to be incorporated into other types of education reform.
“Much of the art of teaching patterns lies in selecting and presenting numerous, effective examples. Digital media and tools can facilitate finding and presenting these examples in the form of text, image, sound, or video” (Rose & Meyer, 2002). Technology plays a key part in the implementation of UDL. Technology tools can be sued to provide choices and differentiation in student learning.Examples of Technology Tools: › Hearing Aids › Glare-reduction screens › Voice-recognition software › Internet programs › Interactive books › Blogs › Podcasts › Wikis
Children are diverse learners and need materials that adapt to their needs in ways that printed materials often cannot. Text to speech Digital highlighting and tagging Audiobooks Using technology, learning experiences can be scaffold and personalized so that students are learning content in ways that are most effective for them. Digital storytelling Drill and practice software Hands on or kinesthetic learning Technology allows more flexibility by providing students with alternative ways to engage with the content as well as ways to create products and contribute to the classroom collective. Pod casting Wikis Presentation software Technology prepares students for the global marketplace by creating real-world connections with which they can apply what they are learning to relevant contexts. Go to meeting or virtual meeting applications Online collaboration E-pals
According to Rose & Meyer (2002), “When two students perform the same academic task, the patterns of activity in their brains are as unique as their fingerprints. The uniqueness may not be visible in the overall level of brain activity, but rather lies in the pattern of activation: how the activity is distributed across different brain regions. For this reason, no one measure of brain activity and no one learning score or variable differentiates or describes individual learners in any meaningful way.” › Recognition networks are specialized to sense and assign meaning to patterns we see; they enable us to identify and understand information, ideas, and concepts. › Strategic networks are specialized to generate and oversee mental and motor patterns. They enable us to plan, execute, and monitor actions and skills. › Affective networks are specialized to evaluate patterns and assign them emotional significance; they enable us to engage with tasks and learning and with the world around us. (Rose & Meyer, 2002)
Universal Design for Learning allows flexibility and support in student learning which means better differentiated instruction for each individual student. Universal Design for Learning breaks away from the traditional textbooks and utilizes technology tools to reach the three brain networks in learning. Universal Design for Learning reduces the amount of barriers to get the most out of student learning.
Universal Design for Learning’s main purpose is to reduce any barriers to the educational process and provide accommodations for the needs of individual learners through the widest range of curricular materials possible (Department of Education, 2010). › Providing multiple means to access the content Video Text Digital text Oral presentation Graphic organizers › Providing multiple ways to express knowledge, opportunities for practices, and timely feedback Oral reports Written reports Digital storytelling Power Point Group presentations › Providing students with choices of content and tools, activities and rewards Group work Independent work
CAST UDL Interactive Lessons, Activities and Information http://www.cast.org/pd/tes/index.html ›Will enable the teachers at Pulaski Heights Middle School to access a free interactive website for further exploration of UDL lessons, activities and information. CAST UDL Book Builder http://bookbuilder.cast.org/ › Will enable the teachers at Pulaski Heights Middle School to develop their own digital books to support reading instruction and literacy learning. CAST UDL Lesson Plan http://www.cast.org/learningtools/lesson_builder/index.html ›Will enable the teachers at Pulaski Heights Middle School to create lessons that are aligned with their curriculum and standards.
Center for Applied Special Technology. (2009a). UDL guidelines, version 1.0. Retrieved March 23, 2012 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelinesCenter for Applied Special Technology. (2009b). Educator Checklist. Retrieved March 23, 2012 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelinesDepartment of Education. (2010). The access center: Using a universal design approach to find barriers and solutions in the curriculum. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved April 2, 2012 from http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/UniversalDesign_BarriersSolutions.aspLaureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Brain research and universal design for learning: Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author.Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Universal design for learning: Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author.Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Reprinted by permission of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development via the Copyright Clearance Center. Located at http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes