In this Kappa Delta Pi Record article, Susan Trostle Brand (University of Rhode Island/Kingston), Antoinette Favazza (University of Rhode Island), and Elizabeth Dalton (TechACCESS) present ways that teachers can use Universal Design for Learning to make lessons accessible to students with a wide spectrum of learning styles and abilities:
Multiple means of representation – Giving students options for perception, language and symbols, and comprehension:
- Perception – Presenting information, concepts, and assessments in a variety of formats, including PowerPoints, interactive whiteboards, dry erase boards, storyboards, flip charts, graphic organizers, video clips, and using physical props.
- Language and symbols – Using body language, facial expressions, and gestures and linking illustrations to words, making text-to-chart connections, and providing graphics and animation.
- Comprehension – Activating students’ prior knowledge through brainstorming, reflecting on feedback, K-W-L charts, and scaffolding as students complete a study guide.
Multiple means for engagement – A constructivist approach can support active engagement through:
- Recruiting student interest – Making the curriculum relevant by integrating children’s life experiences and prior knowledge.
- Sustaining effort and persistence – Communicating specific goals, standards, and short-term objectives, varying the level of challenge and support, fostering collaboration and communication among peers, and encouraging effort, practice, and mastery.
- Self-regulation – Students set personal goals and become more and more self-motivated, scaffolded by prompts, rubrics, checklists, and notes.
Multiple means for action and expression – Varying physical action, expressive skills and fluency, and executive functions:
- Physical actions – Providing varied expectations for physical response, timing, and materials – for example, having students use their bodies, voices, hands, and feet to explore materials, allowing the use of a computer rather than a pencil for a test, and using manipulatives or a calculator with a math test
- Expressive skills and fluency – Giving various choices for expression, varying tools for composition and problem-solving, and offering different levels of practice and support.
- Executive functions – Students get support for goal-setting, planning, and developing strategies for learning – for example, checklists, outlines, note-taking guides, software tools, colored tabs, and color-coded pages for notes and text.
Multiple means of assessing understanding – This includes methods, formats, scope/range level, product and outcome, and feedback:
- Methods – Allowing students to choose whether to be tested with multiple-choice questions, an oral question-and-answer session, or an essay, also having extended time.
- Formats – Using computers, text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and other voiced options for students who need auditory scaffolding, and using photographs, picture symbols, and sign language translation for other students.
- Scope/range level – Having fewer questions, projects, or in-class work as options, also additional tiers for students to go beyond basic questions.
- Product and outcome – Some students might create a play, others construct a model, others write an essay or article, others hold a debate, others create a videotape to show mastery of the same standards.
- Feedback – Teachers might provide immediate feedback on a test, ask a series of increasingly challenging questions, have students self-evaluate by using journals or oral reflection, or solicit peer feedback.
“Universal Design for Learning: A Blueprint for Success for All Learners” by Susan Trostle Brand, Antoinette Favazza, and Elizabeth Dalton in Kappa Delta Pi Record, July-September 2012 (Vol. 48, #3, p. 134-139), http://bit.ly/OeUOSF