Tuesday, March 8, 2011

UDL What is the excitement all about?

UDL What is the excitement all about?

It is happening! I am starting to question and think like a UDL( Universal Design for Learning) promoter.  When did this happen, how did it happen? What is the excitement all about?

I am setting up a themed unit about Weather, Climate and Global Warming. I am looking for resources for all our students and planning their class time. My goal is to provide them with options, choice, interest and finally a place to share their information with their peers.

My first research sites began with NASA, NOAA, NOVA, PBS, science standards and of course CAST. I collected lots of information, added it to a google doc and then began my outline.

The information I gathered was for a high school physical science class of freshmen. A bonus was that some friends shared an open source HS online textbook about Climate and I added that to my collection.

As I talked with some teachers, who were explaining how a student was using a technology presentation tool in class, I wondered why this was a topic to share. But, then it dawned on me, this student was the only one who was using that particular technology presentation tool.

Step # 1 to UDL promotion- If a student is the only student to use a technology tool, then we are further isolating that student and making them look different. Offer a couple of technology tools to all students to use as they do their work. ( Some ideas are Prezi, ebooks, StoryRobe)

Step # 2 to UDL promotion- As we differentiate in our classroom, we will offer a variety of activities for students to research and gather information about the topic. Normally, we make a couple of differentiations for our students with gifted and talented needs, our students with learning disabilities, our students with English Language Learning needs. Offer these differentiations to all.

Here is how I started. http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/tools/udlgoalsettertutorial.cfm
Click step by step and follow the tutorial for setting goals. You can do this on your own, and then get your feedback when you share with others. When I needed more support in the design process,  I could click on a link and get a suggestion.

Step # 3 to UDL promotion- Start small, share, and watch the excitement level in your classroom blossom as you meet your students along the way.
Here is an example of ScienceWriter.cast.org  While it may look a little young, all our students use this, and can choose to use the hints and audio tools, or not.

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