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Universal Design For Learning Chapter 1 July 14, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 11:49 pm

Audio Summary:

Chapter 1 Summary:

Chapter 1, “Education in the Digital Age,” begins with a description of two different classrooms and grade levels in a Concord, New Hampshire school district and how they are using the Universal Design for Learning principles for using technology to maximize learning in their classroom.  The chapter goes on to discuss how UDL principles can help with the challenges of learner diversity and high standards.

There are 3 main ideas in Chapter 1:

–          New brain research has show that students do not have one universal way in which they learn but multiple ways in which they learn.  A weakness in one area of learning can mean a strength in another.

–          UDL framework works with other educational reform by offering numerous strategies for educational change through new research about how students learn and new uses for  technology…

–          According to Donna Palley, the Special Education Coordinator/Technology Specialist for the Concord School system, “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.

Personal Reflections on the Chapter

–          I grew up in a private school and my classes were very homogeneous in comparison to today’s public schools so I did not have much experience with the varied types of learning presented by the UDL.  In my experiences as a substitute teacher; however, I have had several opportunities to see differentiation and technology in the classroom in accordance with UDL ideas.  For example, I spent time in a middle school math class in Baltimore County where the teacher used a SmartBoard to help teach algebra.  She also had several different worksheets for students to complete that catered to students with different levels of ability with the content.

Discuss how technology might help to address the ideas presented.

–          UDL is tied in closely with technology as technologies are very flexible.  Technology is able to adjust to learner differences and students with special needs which makes it easier for teachers to differentiate with a variety of media sources. Chapter Summary:


4 Responses to “Universal Design For Learning Chapter 1”

  1. Sara Says:

    I see a lot of similarity between the ideas presented in UDL and those of both the Differentiation model as well as Multiple Intelligences. These three approaches to teaching all address the fact that each student is unique in their approach in learning and therefore, we must address the different learning styles and abilities with our teaching methods. And this sentiment is reinforced by the quote from Donna Palley. It appears that UDL is a compilation of a variety of theories and methods that work and then it is added to technology. I had a similar experience with homogeneous classrooms and I would say that is benefited me. However, if heteorgenous classrooms are the wave of the future, techniques such as UDL are needed more than ever.

  2. kbohworld Says:

    I think that this is a really good overview of, practically, the rest of the book. It provides a general look at what UDL is and how teachers need to start incorporating it into the classroom. I especially like the fact that the text begins right away in Chapter 1 explaining that in order to properly differentiate, teachers need to begin using multiple media resources in order to speak directly to the students (especially in the technological world where we live). Like you, I went to school is homogeneous classrooms, but from my experience in Harford County, they’re STILL in homogeneous settings! I know this goes against everything that Dr. Neubert said, but I hope that they continue to keep them separated like that….like you had commented on my chapter summary, putting bright students with the lower has more of a chance of destroying the bright student’s education just as much as encouraging the lower student. OR, conversely, the lower student will see the bright one acting out and absolutely NO learning will take place!

    Differentiation, especially using different technologies, is SO important, especially in a heterogeneous classroom!

  3. hdiehl14 Says:

    I think your personal reflections cleared up the summary of the chapter for me as I read. It allowed me to see the real world applications. Differentiation can be challenging and time consuming, but I think you are correct when technology can only aid with this.

  4. ljakli1 Says:

    I agree with the main ideas of this chapter about differentiation, brain processing and the integration of different schools of thought. It’s vital to understand the that everyone’s brain operates a little differently and thus creates the necessity of differentiation. It’s nice to see that the some of the main tenets of Dr. Neubert’s class match up with the reading of a different class.

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