Sunday, October 14, 2012

UDL Guidelines - Educator Checklist

This week's assignment was to check out Universal Design for Learning (UDL). I had never heard of this before and was curious to see what it was. I visited the CAST UDL online wiki to get a general over view of what UDL was all about. According the the wiki, "UDL is a framework for designing curriculum that addresses the diverse needs, strengths, backgrounds, and interests of students in today's classrooms." The website came equipped with an "educator checklist" that breaks objectives into three categories. The first one is "I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation" that talks about providing content for students in multiple ways. It stresses the idea of providing options for perception, language and symbols, and comprehension. The second category is "II. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression" so students have multiple ways of not only seeing the content, but working with it to enhance comprehension. It focuses on options for physical action, expressive skills and fluency, and executive functions. The last category is "III. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement" so the content and learning is meaningful and engaging for students. It looks at providing options for recruiting interest, sustaining effort and persistence, and self-regulation. The check-list allows educators to look at existing lessons or create new curriculum to assess if they are meeting the needs of students at different skill levels. It focuses on differentiating instruction, so each student gets taught in their unique learning style.  It also helps teachers to think about student interests and what leave of effort they may exert. Below is a screen-shot of the UDL Educator Checklist. It is possible download the check-list from the website as a Word document or webpage. The document option allows for note-note taking and adding content-specific information. Looking at my own lesson plan, I've identified the features and barriers here. The check-list offered many aspects I had not thought about. Overall, it seems like a very useful tool and a great way to navigate the complexities of curriculum design.

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