Image from ISTE
The Universal Design for Learning provides guidelines for ensuring all lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. The UDL guidelines provide three principles to follow (CAST, 2011):
1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation (the “what” of learning)
2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression (the “how” of learning)
3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement (the “why” of learning)
Within these three principles are guidelines and checkpoints to further breakdown ways to differentiate lessons for students. During week 2, I created a lesson plan using my Makey Makey. After reading about UDL, I noticed I already had some elements of the design incorporated into my lesson already, but there were many important areas of UDL that were missing from my lesson. I used the UDL Guideline Template to align my lesson to the UDL principles. In my revised lesson, all changes are marked with an asterisk.
While I was filling out the UDL Guideline Template I noticed that I had unknowingly implemented some of the UDL principles:
-I was activating students’ background knowledge by reviewing map terms and concepts we had learned in class before the activity (I 3.1).
-I used multimedia tools by incorporating the the Makey Makey and online Scratch program (II 5.1).
-I offered individual choice by allowing students flexibility in the outcome of their final Scratch program (III 7.1).
-By having students create a program online, I created an authentic activity that show relevance to students’ lives (III 7.2).
-Foster collaboration and community by having students work in small groups (III 8.3).
While I included some UDL elements in my original maker lesson, there were many areas that could be improved based on the UDL guidelines. The main changes I made to my lesson were changes that made my expectations and directions for the lesson clearer. The first change I made to my lesson was adding language goals to benefit my ELL students. In the beginning of my lesson, I initially orally reviewed map terms and concepts. In my updated lesson, I write the terms and definitions down on the whiteboard and also create hand motions for each word. This will ELL students in particular with retaining the vocabulary. Originally in my lesson, I merely explained how the Makey Makey and Scratch program work. I revised the portion of the lesson by showing instructional videos for each so students have a visual understanding of each technology. I also included step-by-step instructions for the Scratch program and Makey Makey for students to refer to as they needed. In addition to the step-by-step instructions, I gave each student a project checklist so they could easily keep track of every task that needed to be completed. I mentioned that I already had students working collaboratively in small groups, however in my revised lesson I made sure that I reviewed expectations for how each member of the group should participate. I allowed students to participate in any way that fit their strengths. My final revision I made to my lesson was incorporating a rubric. By giving my students a rubric, I am showing them exactly what my expectations are and they will have it to refer to as they need.
The changes and additions I made to my lesson seem simple, but after reading the UDL Guidelines, I see now how these small changes can have a positive impact on student learning. UDL encourages multiple means of representing information, student expression, and student engagement. The educator template made it easy to incorporate elements of Universal Design for Learning into my lesson and is something I will use in the future.
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.
ISTE. (2013). UDL Principles [diagram]. Retrieved from http://setsig.iste.wikispaces.net/Universal+Design+for+Learning