Universal Design and Classrooms for the Future

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to instruction that utilizes multiple methods of presenation, engagement and expression to help students overcome learning barriers. Technology is maximized in a UDL model. Technology provides the venue for increased engagement. It allows for multiple methods of presentation and expression. UDL takes advantage of the technology in the room .... available to all learners e.g. interactive white boards, common software such as Inspiration, podcasts/podcasting, etc....

I am struck by how closely this mirrors the goals for the Classrooms for the Future (CFF) grant initiative. CFF is less about the technology than it is about critical thinking, collaboration, and engagement in learning. However, I think training in UDL could help teachers better understand the purpose of the CFF goals. UDL has the potential to deepen teachers thinking about how to create a learning environment that helps students overcome learning challenges. Technology has the potential to widen the net to help more students reach high levels of achievement, but we must learn to recognize the barriers students have to learning.

Great UDL Resources:
CAST - Center for Applied Special Technology
Universal Design Tool Kit - a fabulous wikispace by Karen Janowski & Joyce Valenza
UDL Stuff - great resource created by PaTTAN
Ed Tech Solutions - Teaching Every Student Blog - a great blog by Karen Janowski
Assistive Techology Collaborative Community - on Ning, a collaborative community

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