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Revising Lessons Based on UDL

Revising Lessons Based on UDL

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the UDLinks app to revise a lesson so that it is aligned with the principles of UDL.

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In this tutorial, you'll learn how to revise a lesson using UDL principles. We'll begin with a brief review of the principles of Universal Design for Learning, and then we'll recap the UDLinks mobile app. Finally, we'll see how to modify an existing lesson using UDL principles with the help of the UDLinks app.

First, let's review the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Recall that Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, is a flexible approach to the design of both curriculum and instruction. We plan for accommodations or modifications upfront instead of taking the more reactionary approach of waiting for problems to appear and then figuring out what accommodations or modifications might work to help the situation.

There are three guiding principles in Universal Design for Learning. Principle one asks us to provide multiple means of representation. In other words, we must provide content, procedures, and concepts through a wide variety of instructional techniques to ensure that all students have equal access to learning.

When possible, we should offer ways for students to customize the display of information, and we need to provide assistance as students work to decode language, mathematical expressions and symbols, and as they worked to build comprehension of new concepts.

Principle two asks us to provide multiple means of action and expression. This principle reminds us that teachers should vary the methods for both response and navigation in the classroom, we should work to optimize access to tools and assistive technologies that our students may need, and we should allow students to express their learning and communicate with others in a variety of methods.

It's also important for us to help students practice the use of executive functions, those functions that allow students to bypass the more reactionary, automatic, impulsive reactions. Finally, principle three asks us to provide multiple means of engagement. In order to gain students' interest and increase motivation of students in the classroom, we need to optimize autonomy, student choice, and relevance, value, and authenticity of the material that we are presenting.

We also need to work to minimize any threats and potential distractions that students may feel in the classroom, and provide options for self regulation and for sustaining effort and persistence while working in the classroom environment.

With an understanding of the principles of UDL, let's recap the UDLinks mobile app. You can follow one of these direct links to access the iPhone or Android version of the app. If you don't have access to either of these types of devices, a similar resource can be located in the UDL Exchange at the cast.org website. Recall that the UDLinks app offers you a class profile option, a Resources section, and an interface that allows you to access the UDL principles themselves.

So let's see how we might modify an existing lesson using UDL. Our aim will be to revise the goals, instructional methods, materials, and assessment as appropriate to incorporate the principles of UDL. Here's a sample lesson on the topic of immigration. This lesson is aimed at third to fifth grade students.

The goal of the lesson is that students will be able to define and give examples of immigration. Very traditional instructional methods will be used, including the teacher lecturing using an interactive whiteboard, and having the students read in the textbook. The students will be taking paper and pencil notes as the teacher speaks, and they will also utilize their textbook as they read and then answer questions.

The assessment strategy that will be used will be to have the students respond to the questions in the textbook at the end of the reading passage using simply paper and pencil

Let's see how to use the UDLinks app to modify this lesson so that better reflects the principles of UDL. I'll click on the class profile option in UDLinks. I'll start my profile by selecting history and social studies, and then the grade level, three through five.

I'm looking for an overall lesson plan to give me some ideas. I'd like my students to create and show me what they know in different ways, and I would like to allow for physical action from students. So now some suggested resources appear in the UDLinks app. I'd like to take a look at the America on the Move option.

Along with some very basic information about the resource, I am also provide with the more detailed resource description and with an overview of the UDL alignment of this particular resource. I'll click on View Link in order to see the actual resource itself within my web browser.

This resource looks really promising. It involves a virtual tour of one of the Smithsonian museums, and it will incorporate elements of authenticity that I wouldn't have been able to provide otherwise. Now, back in the UDLinks app, under the Resources section, I would like to incorporate some collaborative tools into my classroom.

I'll filter by the history and social studies topic area, and by grade levels three through five. Here's a neat idea. I can incorporate magnetic poetry and have students use the magnetic poetry kit to express what they've learned throughout this lesson.

With the help of tools and resources that I've found in the UDLinks app, here are some ideas for modifying this lesson. Instead of my goal being simply to have students define and give examples of immigration, I would also like students to be able to explain how immigration impacted the lives of specific groups of people. In fact, I could even go so far as to specify the individual groups of people and the specific time periods that I would like students to focus on.

While I still would plan to incorporate some amount of lecture with the interactive whiteboard and some reading in the textbook, I would also include here the virtual tour of the National Museum of American History and a class discussion of immigration and its impact, after we've completed the virtual tour and the activities on the website.

The materials used in this lesson now include not only the textbook and the paper and pencil notes, but also the National Museum of American History website, a magnetic poetry website which will help students to express to me what they have learned, and an online brainstorming or webbing tool that was featured in UDLinks as well.

Finally, my assessment strategies have been expanded as well. I still will plan to have students use paper and pencil to respond to the questions in the textbook, but I also would like students to create a web from our class discussion and use the magnetic poetry website to describe the impact of immigration.

These strategies have helped me to provide multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement for my students, thus enhancing my use of the UDL principles and ultimately providing better access to learning for all of my students.

In this tutorial, we reviewed the principles of Universal Design for Learning, and we briefly recapped the UDLinks mobile app. Finally, we learn how to use the UDLinks app to modify an existing lesson using Universal Design for Learning principles. We saw that it's easy to navigate the app and to search for particular resources by content area, grade level, or particular need.

So here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Choose a lesson that you'll be teaching soon and try using the UDLinks app to modify it to better meet the needs of your students. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Revising Lessons Based on UDL"

(00:00 - 00:19) Introduction

(00:20 - 02:16) Review UDL Principles

(02:17 - 02:44) Recap UDLinks App

(02:45 - 06:50) Modify an Existing Lesson

(06:51 - 07:14) Review

(07:15 - 07:41) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Designing Lessons for Unique Learners 

This blog post by Katie Novak provides insights from a teacher's perspective on using UDL, and the impact on unique learners.

Previous Universal Design for Learning Lesson Plans

This is a website dedicated to the provision of exemplar lessons using UDL Principles from UDL pilot sites. The site contains lesson plans designed by the UDL pilot sites beginning in the 2003-2004 school year and ending in the 2009-2010 school year.