Thoughts on UDL
What is your perspective on Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
CAST has developed a wonderful website on universal design for learning . It offers a terrific guide to developing lessons in a way that will be accessible and engaging for all students.
So from a UDL perspective, giving a worksheet in a digital format, as well as a printed format, helps all learners, because in that digital format the student who’s visually impaired, we can use a program called Zoom Text to enlarge the text, so that they can be able to see it. The student who has reading challenges can have that text read out loud to them using text to speech. The student who has writing difficulties could use word prediction, or voice recognition to get their ideas down onto that worksheet. The student who has ADHD, who just simply loses that worksheet, now, it’s in a digital format, and they can find it more easily and refer back to it. So giving it in that digital format, that worksheet, suddenly you’re helping a whole group of students, who have special needs be able to access that worksheet in different ways. You didn’t have to go teach each of those students how to use their different pieces, you just had to create that environment, so that all the students could use their different tools to access that task that you wanted them to do.
And what we see increasingly is that there’s nothing special about assistive technology at this point. These tools are often just good general technology that we’re all using already. What makes it special is when we put it to use to help every child succeed.