Grab your UDL Glasses...

Grab your UDL Glasses and Check Out the View!
a kid on the computer in a zoom class with a teacher and other students

Grab your UDL Glasses and Check Out the View!

February 2021 | Issue #21

Once you become familiar with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), you see the school setting in a whole new way. UDL is a framework based on scientific insights on how humans learn. Years of research indicate that our brains are dynamic. The goal of the framework is to develop expert learners using principles grounded in this research. Expert learners are defined as purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-oriented. Using the framework guidelines, educators can promote the development of expert learners today. Follow these tips to get started with small changes in your practice that will equal big results.

  1. Whole student approach.
    Get to know your students. Academic assessments will reveal valuable information, but do not stop there. What are their likes and dislikes, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and strengths? Utilize this information to create learning experiences that encompass the whole student.
  2. Always ask yourself, what is the learning goal?
    What is the goal of the lesson, the activity, the worksheet, or the project? Keeping the goal in mind will help you and your students know where you are headed. Think of it as jumping in the car and not having a destination. This may sound like a fun joy ride, but not ideal for the classroom. This ends up in frustration and very little learning.
  3. Be flexible on your journey. Support autonomy and choices.
    Understanding the destination or goal is crucial, but how you arrive is where lies the flexibility. Learning the best way to reach our destination is an important part of becoming expert learners. Choices can be embedded easily into everyday practice. These choices can be developed with student input through surveys, discussions, and observation. In the process, students have the opportunity to learn what went well, what did not, and what they can do differently in the future.
  4. Teach students how to use built-in accessibility features on devices.
    Built-in accessibility features support a wide range of learners within various contexts. For example, a learner might need to use text to speech when eyes are strained or to aid comprehension. Giving students access to devices with these features is simply not enough. Consider providing explicit instruction on how to use various accessibility features. Using the features within classroom instruction is sure to spark interest, provide necessary modeling, and promote use. Check out this google site for Chromebook Accessibility Features.

To learn more about UDL, visit the CAST website, read the UDL Guidelines or watch UDL at a Glance. Contact Marysol Hurtado for upcoming CAHELP training opportunities.