Universal Design for Learning<br />UDL, Technology and Brain Research<br />Melissa Rebecchini<br />
The Inspiration:Universal Design in the Physical Environment<br />Have you ever had to… <br />
What a difference one of these would have made….<br />The term "Universal design" was coined by the architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_design)<br />
What is UDL?<br />Just as Universal Design in architecture aims to make the physical world accessible to all people, Universal Design for Learning aims to make learning accessible to all students. <br />“UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs” (CAST.org).<br />
How Does UDL Support Diversity?<br /> “From pre-kindergarten to graduate school, classrooms usually include learners with diverse abilities and backgrounds, including students with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities, differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds, varied preferences and motivations for learning, students who are unusually gifted, and many others… A universally designed curriculum is designed from the outset to meet the needs of the greatest number of users, making costly, time-consuming, and after-the-fact changes to curriculum unnecessary” (http://www.cast.org/udl/faq/index.html).<br />
The Three Principles of UDL<br />1. The “What” of Learning: Provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation.<br />2. The “How” of Learning: Provide multiple, flexible means of action and expression.<br />3. The “Why” of Learning: Provide multiple, flexible options for engagement. <br /> By providing a more flexible curriculum, learning opportunities are improved not only for students with disabilities, but for all students. <br />
How do you provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation?<br />Rather than relying on one means of presenting information, you could use a combination of:<br /><ul><li>Audio/Speech
Text</li></ul> The more ways in which information is presented, the more likely you are to reach all learners.<br /> Click on the link to explore more ideas: http://www.pgcps.org/~tifa/udlandtech_text.pdf<br />
How do you provide multiple, flexible methods of action?<br /> Allow students choice and flexibility to demonstrate what they have learned. Ways to do this include:<br /><ul><li>Writing
Writing a song </li></ul>For more information, click on the following link: http://www.pgcps.org/~tifa/udlandtech_text.pdf<br />
How do you provide multiple, flexible methods of engagement? <br />Students come to us with a variety of learning styles, interests, and levels of motivation. To help all students engage in learning, you can:<br /><ul><li>Offer choices of content and tools to tap into your students’ interests.
Provide varying levels of challenge so that all students are working at an appropriately challenging level.
Offer a choice of rewards for meeting learning goals.
Offer choice in the structure of assignments (individual, small-group or whole-group).</li></ul>For more information, click on the following link: <br />http://www.pgcps.org/~tifa/udlandtech_text.pdf<br />
Technology and UDL<br />Technology and digital media have a central role in UDL. <br />Traditional instruction has relied on speech and print text, creating a barrier for many students. Technology allows for teachers to create individualized, flexible instruction for all learners. <br />
How Technology Impacts Student Learning<br />Digital Media<br /><ul><li>Are Versatile: Material can be presented in multiple formats such as pictures, sound, text, video or a combination of these, allowing students to access information in their preferred medium.
Are Transformable: Students accessing the same content can adjust the appearance and size of text, images or adjust sounds. Students can also use text-to-speech software when reading content and websites can be translated to a students’ native language.
Can be Marked: Digital text can be highlighted or marked to accommodate the preferences and needs of each student.
Can be Networked: Digital media allows teachers to link content to other digital media giving students access to tools such as a dictionary, thesaurus, or links to background information. </li></ul>http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/chapter3_9.cfm<br />
Brain Research and Learning Differences<br /> Brain research had demonstrated that learning is distributed across three interconnected networks: The Recognition, Strategic and Affective Networks (Rose & Meyer, 2002).<br /> Although this is true for all people, individual brains differ, contributing to unique strengths and weaknesses in each individual learner (Rose & Meyer, 2002).<br />
Recognition Networks<br /> Located in the back of the brain, recognition networks enable us to identify and interpret patterns of sound, light, taste, smell, and touch. Because of this, we are able to recognize voices, faces, letters, and words. The recognition networks also enable us to recognize complex patterns, such as literary style or abstract concepts such as justice. Differences exist in the recognition networks of each individual. Therefore, the more ways in which a teacher presents information, the more likely that teacher is to reach all learners (Rose & Meyer, 2002).<br />
Strategic Networks<br /> Located primarily in the frontal lobes, the strategic networks enable us to plan, execute and monitor progress in virtually everything that we do. The strategic networks are so efficient that we are able to plan, organize and monitor actions without even being consciously aware of it. Differences in the strategic networks of students manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Some students may experience difficulties with tasks such as spelling, multiplying, writing or reading, among other things. The more tools that students are allowed to use, and the more ways in which students are allowed and encouraged to demonstrate what they have learned, the more likely it is that they will be successful in achieving curriculum goals. By keeping these differences in mind, teachers will be able to plan strategic learning opportunities for all types of learners(Rose & Meyer, 2002).<br />
Affective Networks<br />Located at the core of the brain, the affective networks allow us to become engaged and interested in learning, as well as to evaluate patterns and assign emotional significance to them. As many teachers know, the affective aspect of learning is perhaps the most important. Students’ emotional responses to learning can have a profound effect on their success. By getting to know students and paying attention to affective issues, teachers can help students to connect to the subject matter and enjoy learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002).<br />
CAST<br />CAST (The Center for Applied Special Technology), founded in 1984, is a nonprofit organization devoted to research and development to expand educational opportunities for all, especially those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning. Through their website, CAST offers a number of resources and tools to help teachers learn more about and implement UDL. <br /> (CAST.org)<br />Founded in 1984 as the Center for Applied Special Technology, CAST has earned international recognition for its innovative contributions to educational products, classroom practices, and policies. Its staff includes specialists in education research and policy, neuropsychology, clinical/school psychology, technology, engineering, curriculum development, K-12 professional development, and more.<br />
CAST Tools:<br />The CAST UDL Book Builder is a free online tool that enables teachers in all subject areas to easily create their own digital books, complete with images, prompts, hints and models. (http://cast.org/learningtools/book_builder/index.html)<br />The CAST UDL Lesson Builder provides sample UDL lesson plans and guides teachers in adapting lessons in order to remove barriers to learning and reach all students. (http://lessonbuilder.cast.org/)<br />The CAST Strategy Tutor is an internet research tool for teachers and students in grades 5 and up. Not only does the tool help students to better read, collect and understand their internet research, but it also guides teachers in creating web-based lessons. (http://cast.org/learningtools/strategy_tutor/index.html)<br />
UDL Links<br />View tools, resources and sample lessons for implementing UDL in the language arts classroom: https://sites.google.com/site/udllanguagearts/useful-links<br /> Use the Class Profile Maker to better understand and reach your students: http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/tools/classprofile.cfm<br /> A website for science teachers on how to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities: http://www.k8accesscenter.org/index.php<br /> View sample UDL lesson plans in all subject areas: http://macombschools.org/UDL-E3T/index.cfm<br /> Visit the CAST website for UDL information, resources and tools: http://cast.org/<br /> For more information on brain research and UDL , read Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning: http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/<br />
References:<br />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/ <br />