Maximising the effective use of digital tools in the UDL classroom

Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) without digital tools is possible, but the technologies open the door to learning for so many more students.

Take a look at the video below. Consider how that same solution (background music and headphones) might give confidence to other students who dread public speaking or oral exams.

UDL in a nutshell

UDL is a framework for designing learning that builds in support and flexibility at the outset. It is about acknowledging from the beginning that there is huge variability in student’s cultural backgrounds, their needs, strengths, and the experiences they bring. From that place of predictable variability, UDL provides us with a set of guidelines to help us recognise and remove barriers to learning for students and replace them with opportunities rich in choices and scaffolded with built-in supports.

Planning with UDL

So when we plan using UDL, we turn the old model of planning from the mythical middle on it’s head. Instead we look at the strengths and needs of a group of learners in a particular context:

  • We start our thinking from those students with the most diverse needs in that context, those students “at our edges” rather than the mythical middle or average student.
  • We plan a learning space that will work for those students “at our edges”, build in choices and supports at the outset that will enable those students to connect their culture, experience and interests to the learning and also monitor and manage their own learning.
  • Then we create a flexible, choice-rich learning environment based on our planning from the edges, combined with effective pedagogies such as peer tutoring, co-operative learning, and an inquiry approach.
  • Students are then able to personalise their learning so that it works for them.

Cool new UDL resource from CAST

UDL planning resources

Useful links

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