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 theory and practice website and community
- Universal Design for Learning: theory and Practice book” by Meyer, Rose and Gordon
UDL planning resources
- UDLinks ios app, UDLinks Android app to support teachers and parents to search for content specific online teaching resources aligned with Universal Design for Learning.
- UDL Guidelines on UDL Center website – presented using UDL principles.
- UDL Guidelines – one page PDF colour coded Summary.
- The UDL Wheel – laptop access only
- UDL technology ideas collaborative Google Doc for our workshop
- UDL toolkit wikispace – a collection of digital tools, apps and extensions
- Overview of UDL – a video of teachers chatting about the impact of UDL on their teaching and learning
- Simple animated video intro to UDL
- National Center of Universal Design for Learning website (lots of reading and research)
- UDL discussions in the VLN – Check out the discussion on the effective use of tech.