The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines provide an excellent framework for building a toolkit of resources for supporting students with diverse needs.
The UDL Guidelines support learner variability by providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement. Each principle is further divided into three major guidelines and more specific checkpoints. The following modules are organized around these guidelines. The first module provides a short introduction to UDL and the guidelines. Modules 2-4 introduce three tools that are compatible with multiple means of representation. Modules 5-7 provide tools for multiple means of expression, and Modules 8-10 address multiple means of engagement.
Each module should take about 15 minutes to complete. Most offer a choice of a laptop(PC) and an iPad(iOS) tool; two are online resource collections. Although the modules have been numbered, they can be completed in any order. All of the tools except Scholantis are free. The modules were originally developed for use in SD71 Comox Valley.
Module 1: Introduction to UDL and the UDL Guidelines
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that is flexible enough to work with a wide range of students. This flexibility is achieved by considering the varying needs of students when lessons are being designed and by implementing the UDL guidelines. The three main principles of UDL help teachers address diverse needs by providing multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement.
Please watch the introductory video to gain an understanding of the basic concepts of UDL. Then explore the UDL Guidelines in the downloadable activity found on the Resources Tab. To further explore UDL, see the More Tab.
Module 2: Options for Perception
The Options for Perception guideline draws attention to variability in students’ perceptual needs. It’s important to ensure that students can see and hear instruction and that educational materials are designed in a way that enhances perception. Readability and Reader View are tools that allow a user to customize web pages in order to remove distractions and optionally change font, size, and contrast.
Module 3: Options for Language and Symbols
Teachers can support learning by clarifying vocabulary and symbols, syntax and structure, and supporting the decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols. The Chrome extension SpeakIt! and Speak Selection/Speak Screen for the iPad are text-to-speech tools that assist students with reading text.
Module 4: Options for Comprehension
Teachers play a vital role in structuring knowledge in a way that enhances learning. Strategies which support comprehension include providing background knowledge and highlighting patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships. The following online resources are helpful in providing options for comprehension.
- Multiple Means of Representation: Options for Comprehension TicTacToe
- Options for Comprehension: Online Resources
Individual links listed from above Options for Comprehension: Online Resources document
Module 5: Options for Physical Action
Students will vary in their abilities and preferences for physical action. Wiggle cushions, bouncy balls, standing desks, and pencil grips are now being used in many schools. Students may differ in the way they access tools and assistive technologies. The onscreen PC keyboard and the IOS onscreen keyboard offer several options for physical action including word prediction.
Module 6: Options for Expression and Communication
A key concept in UDL is offering student’s choice in the way they demonstrate their learning. This includes using multiple media for communication and multiple tools for construction and composition. Teachers can support learning by offering varying levels of support for performance and practice. TalkTyper website and the built-in iPad Enable Dictation are speech-to-text tools that offer students an alternative to writing.
Module 7: Options for Executive Functions
Learning to set goals, plan assignments and monitor progress are important student skills. Teachers often support students in becoming strategic goal-directed learners by helping to structure or chunk assignments, using graphic organizers and planning tools, and providing checklists or rubrics. Popplet, available online or as an app, is a brainstorming tool that can be used by teachers or students.
Module 8: Options for Recruiting Interest
Methods of recruiting interest include establishing a safe classroom environment free of threats and distractions and encouraging individual choice and autonomy. Students are more likely to embrace learning that is relevant and authentic. This collection of online resources provides some options for recruiting interest.
Module 9: Options for Sustaining Effort and Persistence
In order to succeed as learners, students need to develop “grit” and a growth mindset to persist in the face of difficulty. Teachers can assist by fostering classroom collaboration and community. Padlet is an online tool that can be used for collaboration. AirDrop allows sharing of files between iPads.
Module 10: Options for Self-Regulation
Developing personal coping skills and strategies for self-assessment and reflection assist students in learning to self-regulate. BC teachers are beginning to use online portfolios to promote student goal-setting, self-assessment and reflection. This module provides a brief overview and comparison of several online portfolio options.