Universal classroom design creating an accessible curriculum in the inclusive classroom
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Universal Classroom Design Creating an Accessible Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom. A Criticism of New Technology. An adaptation of:. Plato - circa 387 b.c.

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Universal Classroom Design Creating an Accessible Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom

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Universal Classroom DesignCreating an Accessible Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom

A Criticism of New Technology

An adaptation of:

Plato - circa 387 b.c.

…these inventions will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who use it. They will not need to exercise their minds…It equips pupils with only a semblance of learning, not true learning. Thanks to these inventions, students will be without benefit of a teacher’s instruction…

This person was referring to BOOKS…

Technology helps . . .

“. . . ordinary people do extraordinary things. Technology helps extraordinary people do ordinary things.”

John Scully (middle), Apple Computer, late 1980’s

Technology is something invented AFTER you are born…

What types of “technology” are your students using?”

Origins of Universal Design for Learning

  • American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) – access and reasonable accommodations

  • North Carolina State University

    • Universal Design and Architecture

    • Accessible features are integrated into the overall design

  • Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

    • Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning:

  • “The concept of UDL is the intersection where all our initiatives – integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others – come together.” - Donna Palley

What does architecture have to do with curriculum?

  • “Consider the needs of the broadest possible range of users from the beginning”

  • Architect, Ron Mace

  • Retro-fitted vs. built-in:

    Retro-fitted curriculum vs. curriculum designed to meet multiple student needs:

    • Making things DIGITAL is one part of this initiative to make the general education curriculum inherently accessible to all students.

    Get your #2 pencils ready!

    What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

    • UDL is a framework that aims to accommodate a broad spectrum of learners by requiring a range of options for accessing,using and engagingwith learning materials.

    • These multiple means of presentation, expression and engagement reduce barriers for individuals with disabilities but also enhance opportunities for every student.

    • The key is flexibility not uniformity.


    “ALL students must be educated in accordance with grade-level state content standards. If your child takes an alternate assessment, it must be based on standards that are aligned to grade-level content.”

    NCLB – it’s the law

    ALL students, regardless of their abilities, must be given the opportunity to become involved with and progress in the general education curriculum.

    Every student must have access to what is being taught.

    IDEA – it’s the law

    Striving to Reach ALL Learners

    • Learning disabilities

    • Attention Deficit Disorder

    • Autism Spectrum Disorders

    • Low Vision

    • Hearing Impairment

    • Physical Impairments

    • English Language Learners

    • General Education


    With a Universally Designed Classroom, could we level the playing field?

    Would “disabilities” be less apparent?

    Universal Design for Learning:

    • The concept of UDL is the intersection where ALL our initiatives – integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others – come together.”

      - Donna Palley

    Universal Design: Concepts

    • Equitable Use

      • Designed to be useful for people with diverse abilities

    • Flexibility in Use

      • To accommodate a wide range of individual abilities

    • Simple and Intuitive Use

      • Easy to understand

    • Perceptible Information

      • Information communicated effectively regardless of abilities

    • Tolerance for Error

      • Minimizes accidents or unintended actions

    • Low Physical Effort

      • Can be used comfortable with minimal fatigue

    • Size and Space for Approach and Use

      • Supports access regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility

    Brain Research

    • Different sensory inputs are interpreted across different regions of the brain

    • Different parts of the brain are activated when completing the same task…when the goal is different

    • Differently abled individuals use different parts of the brain to process information

    Principles of UDL

    • Multiple means of representation

      • to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge,

    • Multiple means of expression

      • to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know,

    • Multiple means of engagement

      • to tap into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation.

    • Helps to reduce barriers for individuals with disabilities but also enhances opportunities for everystudent.

    1. Provide multiple flexible methods of representation

    2. Provide multiple, flexible methods of expression

    3. Support multiple, flexible options for engagement

    Why use Digital Media?

    • Engage all students

    • Provide Access to curriculum for all students

    • Enhance engagement in learning

    • Provide repetition and rehearsal of concepts

    • Extend teachers’ reach

    • Achievement

    • Independence

    UDL and Assistive Technology

    • AT looks at overcoming the barriers the Individual faces in the environment

    • UDL looks at making the learning environment as flexible and accommodating as possible

    • BOTH approaches strive to insure the access, participation and progress of students with disabilities

    From Joy Zabala and Skip Stahl

    Universal Design for Learning

    • Focus is on providing a curriculum that is inherently accessible for the widest range of students possible

    Tools that support UDL:Essential for Some, Beneficial for ALL

    • “The universal design of curriculum objectives, instructional materials, teaching methods and assessments has tremendous potential to improve the education of all children, but it is especially important for students with disabilities.

    - National Down Syndrome Society

    Ultimately, educational goals will

    not be about the mastery of content,

    but about the mastery of learning.

    Grace Meo

    Visit: www.cast.org

    Ultimately, it’s about our STUDENTS…

    The Power of Making things Digital…

    Technology Tools to Support UDL

    “Low-Tech” Tools:

    • Pencil grips

    • Velcro

    • Mayer-Johnson Symbols

    • Voice Output Devices

    • Pens

    • Picture and Word “Walls”

    • Highlighter tape, highlighters

    • Raised-line paper

    • Slant-Board

    • Tape Recorders/Digital Recorders

    • Post-it Notes

    • Hefty Tabs

    • Colored Acetate paper

    • Calculators

    • Graph Paper

    • Franklin Products

    • Quicktionary Reading Pen

    • Alphasmart/Neo/Dana

    Start-to-Finish Books



    Living Books


    Word Processors (Word, Appleworks,etc.)

    Books on Tape


    Mp3 Players

    Keyboarding Programs


    Curriculum Software

    Scholastic, Tom Snyder, Riverdeep, see Stages Online Resources



    Word Prediction Software


    Kurzweil 3000


    Talking Word Processors


    Intellitalk II

    Kurzweil 3000


    “Mid-Tech” Tools:

    “High-Tech” Tools:

    • Voice-Recognition Software

      • Dragon Systems, ViaVoice, IListen, Microsoft, SpeakQ

    • Organizational Software

      • Inspiration, Kidspiration, Spark Space

    • Scanning Tools

      • Kurzweil 3000, Cast eReader, Wynn, PAT, Read&Write Gold

    • Computerized Study Strategies

      • Kurzweil 3000

      • Thinking Reader

      • Microsoft Office

    • Electronic Learning Environments

      • University of Oregon

      • Educational Text-book publishers

      • Whiteboard technology

    • Webquests


    • “The concept of UDL is the intersection where all our initiatives – integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others – come together.” - Donna Palley

    UDL and Multiple Intelligences

    • By designing curriculum that supports Multiple means of Presentation, Expression and Engagement you naturally support the Multiple Intelligences of students.

    Differentiated Instruction

    • Differentiated Instruction is a teaching theory based on the premise that instructional approaches should vary and be adapted in relation to individual and diverse students in classrooms (Tomlinson, 2001)

    Elements of Differentiated Instruction

    • Several elements and materials are used to support instructional content

    • Tasks and objectives are aligned to learning goals

    • Instruction is concept focused and principle driven

    • Flexible grouping is consistently used

    • Classroom Management techniques

    • Initial and ongoing assessment of student readiness and growth are essential

    • Students are active and responsible explorers

    • Vary expectations and requirements for student responses

    • Clarify key concepts

    • Use assessment as a teaching tool to extend rather than merely measure instruction

    • Emphasize critical and creative thinking

    • Engaging all learners is essential

    • Provide a balance between teacher-assigned and student-selected tasks

    Do you see how UDL principles easily fit with the concept of DI?

    Multiple Intelligences

    Multiple Intelligences

    • Body/Kinesthetic or “body smart”

    • Interpersonal or “people smart”

    • Intrapersonal or “self smart”

    • Logical/Mathematic or “number/reasoning smart”

    • Musical/Rhythmic or “music smart”

    • Verbal/Linguistic or “word smart”

    • Visual/Spatial or “picture smart”

    • Naturalistic or “nature smart”

    • Existential or “collective conscious smart?”

    What kind of “smart” are you?

    See: Howard Gardner, David Lazear, David Kolb

    What kind of “smart” are you?




    Exploring Technology to support a UDL classroom!

    • Kurzweil 3000

    • Microsoft Word

    • Inspiration

    • Powerpoint

    • Intellitools Classroom Suite

    • Others??

    • It’s not just about digital media!!

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