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Universal design for learning

  1. Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology: Breaking down barriers and meeting the needs of diverse learners Janet Barone-DeSenzo Consultant, JanTech Educational Services Technology Coach, Vernon Twp. Public Schools @jantechnj
  2. What are the origins of UDL?
  3. Have you ever used: • A curb cut? • Numbers outside the edge of the elevator doors? • Closed captioning on your TV? Necessary for some- beneficial to ALL
  4. The central premise of UDL: A curriculum should include alternatives to make it accessible and appropriate for individuals with different backgrounds, learning styles, abilities, and disabilities in widely varied learning contexts. ~Anne Meyer and David Rose, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning, 2002
  5. UDL: Making expert learners of all students • Our students’ learning styles and abilities are so varied, a “one size fits all” curriculum doesn’t work • “When curricula are designed to meet the needs of the broad middle—at the exclusion of those with different abilities, learning styles, backgrounds, and even preferences, they fail to provide all individuals with fair and equal opportunities to learn”
  6. Realistically speaking, UDL supports the use of: • A flexible curriculum that addresses all learners • The use of digital materials • The use of a variety of assessment tools • The use of a variety of learning activities to engage and motivate learners
  7. Who is CAST? • CAST (the Center for Applied Special Technology), a nonprofit organization • works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities • focus: research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.
  8. Who is CAST? The folks from CAST developed the UDL Guidelines with hopes that there would be increased learning opportunities for those with special needs.
  9. The 3 Principles of UDL: 1. Multiple means of representation, to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge.
  10. Representation: the “What” of Learning Students differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend information that is presented to them. For example, those with sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness or deafness); learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia); language or cultural differences, and so forth may all require different ways of approaching content. Others may simply grasp information better through visual or auditory means rather than printed text. In reality, there is no one means of representation that will be optimal for all students; providing options in representation is essential. ~UDL Guidelines,
  11. List Multiple Ways to Represent New Information to your students:
  12. List Multiple Ways to Represent New Information to your students: • Video: self-made, United Streaming, Khan Academy, Pencasts • Posters and flip charts • Graphic organizers • Document Camera: Model use of manipulatives? Class notes? • IWB lessons: reveal small bits of information at a time • Interactive websites for math and L.A. • Podcasts using Audacity
  13. UDL Principle #2 2. Multiple means of expression, to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know.
  14. Expression: the “how” of learning Students differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know. For example, individuals with significant motor disabilities (e.g. cerebral palsy), those who struggle with strategic and organizational abilities (executive function disorders, ADHD), those who have language barriers, and so forth approach learning tasks very differently and will demonstrate their mastery very differently. Some may be able to express themselves well in writing text but not oral speech, and vice versa. In reality, there is no one means of expression that will be optimal for all students; providing options for expression is essential
  15. List Multiple Ways your students can Express what they know to you : How do you measure knowledge? Give them options!
  16. List Multiple Ways in which your students can Express what they know to you: • Paper/pencil tests • Posters/Glogsters • Oral Presentations/ Demonstrations/Written Papers • Senteo/Smart Response • Student created tests/ with answers • Debates • Wipe off boards/iPads
  17. UDL Principle #3: 3. Multiple means of action and engagement, to tap into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation.
  18. Engagement: the “why” of learning Students differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some students are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. In reality, there is no one means of representation that will be optimal for all students; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.
  19. List Multiple Ways to Engage your students in the learning process : Side Note: Don’t rely on technology to engage and motivate!
  20. List Multiple Ways to Engage your students in the learning process : •Utilize manipulatives •Group activities- collaboration! •Center based learning •Allow students to instruct •Concepts discussions •Allow students to use the class SmartBoard, iPad, laptop, etc. •USE FLEXIBLE CURRICULUM MATERIALS
  21. FLEXIBLE WHAT???? Flexible Curriculum Materials?? What are they and why do we need to use them?
  22. WHY USE Flexible Curriculum Materials?? • To ensure that all types and levels of learners can access your curriculum reach your lesson goals.
  23. How do you know if your materials are flexible?? Are they accessible to all of your students? • Your visual learners? • Your auditory learners? • Your kinesthetic learners • How about your special needs students?
  24. So where does assistive technology fit into all of this????
  25. Assistive Technology: Defined IDEA: 300.5: Assistive Technology Device: “Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”
  26. Assistive Technology is determined by NEED …NOT by disability category, label or IEP mandate It addresses the question: what are the barriers to learning and how can they be overcome?
  27. Think about this statement: Assistive Technology: necessary for some beneficial to most What kind of technology are we referring to?
  28. Let’s Think Back to the 3 UDL Principals: What were some of the technology tools that could assist with providing multiple means of representation, engagement and expression? Couldn’t many of these be considered Assistive Technology?
  29. Universal Design looks to Assistive Technology make the learning looks at the specific environment as barriers a student may flexible and face in whatever accommodating as environment they find possible. themselves. Both approaches strive to insure the access, participation & progress of students with disabilities. Joy Zabala, 2006
  30. Helpful resources: • The UDL Center site: • The CAST website: • UDL Community Connect: • Check out a sample UDL lesson • Check out the UDL Guidelines
  31. Works Cited: About UDL: The Three Principals of UDL. (2011, February 1). Retrieved from National Center on Universal Design for Learning: Meyer, A., & Rose, D. (2002). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age, Universal Design for Learning. Las Vegas: Assoc. for Supervision & Curriculum Development . Zabala, J. (2006). NOTE TAKING GUIDE: AT, UD, UDL: Comp. Retrieved from