Monday, March 30, 2015

Meeting Diverse Learners Needs

Whether we have students with identified learning disabilities or not, we have students who process and understand information in ways different from our own.

Universal Design for Learners (UDL) is a set of principles that guide how to meet diverse learning needs. We can be most effective at engaging and supporting learning when we follow these three principles of UDL:

  1. Provide multiple means of representation - the ways we present content.
  2. Provide multiple means of action and expression - the ways we encourage students to show their understanding.
  3. Provide multiple means of engagement - the ways we help students make personal meaning and connection to content.
This graphic organizer from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) offers increasingly sophisticated steps to apply these principles to help students become resourceful, strategic and motivated learners.
Used with permission from CAST on 2.19.15
Some things you can do to get started.
1. Representation - mix it up! 
Communicate with your students using alternatives to text; record your voice or a short video. When using text, add relevant images and graphics that can help students make sense of your words.

2. Action and Expression - mix it up! 
Give students opportunities to share their understanding through creative projects: create an advertisement for a concept, artwork, a letter, a dance, an app., a word cloud.

3. Engagement - mix it up! 
Provide multiple ways for learners to navigate your course. Use sources that represent multiple perspectives. Locate relevant TED Talks, Youtube videos, Blogs, twitter feeds. Give students choices. Provide ways for students to work purposely together.

Do you have ideas to share about universal design for learning? Please comment below. If you need help coming up with ideas for making your course more accessible to your students, let me know.

A .pdf and text readable transcript of this graphic are available at the UDL Center
For other resources on UDL visit CAST.

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