Universal Design for Learning and Innovation Blog
My burning question: How can educators design
their classes to be more inclusive to benefit a
greater number of students?
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides a new lens and framework for instructional design to accomodate all kinds of learners. It involves adding simple things into our classes that make learning more accessible and inclusive for all students. The best explanation or reference I have for UDL is provided by Shelley Moore in this video below:
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYtUlU8MjlY
As Shelley explains, education is like bowling. If the pins are students, we as educators want to be able to reach them all with one minimal shot or design. We don't want to leave any behind. We can do that with a more universal design of our classes.
The image below from www.udlcenter.org shows three ways in which educators can break down barriers for students by providing multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement.
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.
I would like to focus on how educators can incorporate technology into the classroom with UDL in mind. Although technology is not necessarily dependent on technology, it helps to facilitate its integration. This blog will showcase different tools that you might find useful in your teaching practice. I've already used one! A YouTube video. Yes, something as simple as a YouTube video can knock down barriers that might exist in a traditional classroom.
Using a YouTube video allows students who need more time to take notes to pause and play a video at their own will. Closed captions can help students who are hearing impaired so that they can see what the speaker is saying. Lastly, students can also control the speed of a YouTube video as well. I have had some students tell me that I tend to talk a little fast when I get excited, so this was a useful feature when watching a video lecture I had prepared. If we compare these options to the UDL guidelines, we can see that these types of choices offer students multiple ways to engage in the material. In my next blog post, I want to dive deeper into how to use UDL with YouTube in the classroom.