If we are to educate all children we must customize our instruction to meet the needs of all students. However, teachers do not have the time to create lessons that are tailored to meet the needs of the diverse student population. This is where the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can offer assistance. UDL is not just another strategy to implement. UDL is a framework to guide teachers as they prepare their lessons to meet the individual needs of all students “by using a repertoire of teaching strategies suited to each of the brain networks”(Rose & Meyer, 2002). Rose and Meyers provide an in-depth explanation of how the three networks of the brain and what teaching strategies and technologies best impact each network. Goals focused on specific content draw upon recognition networks. Goals that require students to use skills, strategies, or processes draw upon strategic networks. Enjoyment and appreciation draw upon affective networks of the brain. Lessons that do not draw upon the affective network can prevent students from becoming life long learners and destroy motivation. In “Web 2.0:New tools, New schools” ,Solomon and Schrum, state that “for middle-school students, motivation is a key factor in the learning and retention of knowledge” (2007).
Network appropriate teaching methods
- To support diverse recognition networks:
- Provide multiple examples
- Highlight critical features
- Provide multiple media and formats
- Support background context.
- To support diverse strategic networks:
- Provide flexible models of skilled performance
- Provide opportunities to practice with supports
- Provide ongoing, relevant feedback
- Offer flexible opportunities for demonstrating skill.
- To support diverse affective networks:
- Offer choices of content and tools
- Offer adjustable levels of challenge
- Offer choices of rewards
- Offer choices of learning context.
Tools used to create flexible lessons include brainstorming tools, word processing tools, text to speech, graphics tools, internet resources, and multimedia. These tools offer scaffolds that assist students in reaching goals. Rose and Meyers also stress the importance of continual feedback in ensuring the success of all students. In “Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works”, Pitler, recommends that feedback be criterion-referenced, focus on specific types of knowledge and be student-led. Pitler makes recommendations for using word processing applications, classroom response systems (clickers), web resources, and communication software to improve the process of providing feedback.
Resources for providing feedback
I Know That
Offers web-based educational activities and games for kids ages 2-12.
Math Play Ground
Offers math games, math word problems, math worksheets, logic puzzles, and math videos.
Factsheets, worksheets, quizzes and games to help improve math skills.
Offers online math and science simulations. There is a fee.
Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help. There is a fee to use Brain Pop, but they provide some free videos and activities.
The Hot Potatoes suite includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoe also allows audio, images, and video to be embeded in the exercises. Internet access is not required to use Hot Potatoe.
High School Online Collaborative Writing
Video Conferencing to provide access to experts.
www.ichat.com (mac only)
UDL specific resources
UDL Book Builder
Enables educators to develop their own digital books to support reading instruction literacy learning.
Cast Learning Tools
Cast offers many resources to build options and flexibility into each element of the curriculum in order to reach and engage all students.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 41-58, 217-225.
Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October 5, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/
Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, New schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 95.