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Universal Design for Learning A framework for Accessible Curricular Materials Matthew T. Marino, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Universal Design for Learning A framework for Accessible Curricular Materials Matthew T. Marino, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Universal Design for Learning A framework for Accessible Curricular Materials Matthew T. Marino, Ph.D.

2 Overview The problem(s) with our current educational model Origins of UDL UDL defined (or not) The neurobiological basis for UDL UDL and Differentiated Instruction Integrating UDL with your teaching practice An example from video games

3 Can People with Disabilities Make Valuable Contributions?

4 Students with Disabilities in Text-based Environments Have difficulty: Activating prior knowledge Making inferences during reasoning processes Implementing instructor feedback Transferring knowledge  Are reluctant to pose questions or hypotheses  Are less likely to have a systematic plan to approach problems  Are less likely to be aware of their metacognitive processes

5 Learning to Read & Reading to Learn Students with disabilities Students without disabilities

6 8 th Grade: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2010) Science Performance of Students Without Disabilities

7 Science Performance of Students With Disabilities Outcome - Only 5% of SWD enter the STEM workforce (Leddy, 2010) 8 th Grade: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2010)

8 Leveraging Students’ Strengths to Enhance Instruction Thinking in pictures (not words) Intense, sustained, obsessive, fixation on a problem Not bound by social, behavioral, or political considerations Desperately seeking success and acceptance Benefit more from technology than their peers without disabilities

9 Origins of Universal Design (UD)  Developed from architecture in the early 1970’s at North Carolina State University  Based on the idea that all products should be usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.  Examples of Universal Design include curb cuts, TV captioning, & pictorial representation on restroom doors.


11 UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING (UDL) An educational application of the original architecture-based UD construct Developed at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) for K-12 students(CAST) UDL is designed to improve access, participation, and progress in the general education curriculum UDL challenges teachers to anticipate, reduce, and/or eliminate barriers by creating flexible curricula

12 PREMISE FOR UDL IN EDUCATION Barriers occur as diverse learners interact with curriculum (e.g., nonreaders working with text) The curriculum, instruction, and assessment are the problem, NOT the students Accessibility is a broad construct that includes physical, cognitive, social, and cultural influences Curricula should consider student differences at the outset… as opposed to retrofitting existing instructional plans (Meyer & Rose, 2005)

13 ACCESS CONSIDERATIONS Physical Social Cognitive Cultural Student Learning is restricted if curricular materials are not accessible at each of the 4 domains

14 DECONSTRUCTING BARRIERS Symbolic Representation Cognitive Procedural Knowledge & Skills Conceptual Understanding (Big Ideas) Domain Specific Vocabulary




18 UDL IS ROOTED IN NEUROBIOLOGY Global measures of intelligence (e.g., IQ) do not account for individual learning differences at the neural level within the brain (Dolan & Hall, 2001; Wallis & Bulthoff, 1999) Positron emission tomography (PET) Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Quantitative electroencephalography (Qeeg)

19 INDIVIDUAL LEARNING EXPERIENCES SHAPE NEURAL PATHWAYS Brain activity varies by individual based on previous experiences with the learning tasks (Hund- Georgiadis & von Cramon, 1999; Shaywitz, 2003) Modules within the brain expand and contract based on personal experiences (van Mier, Fiez, & Raichle, 1998) Repetition and practice produce changes at the behavioral level and at the neural level within the brain (Meyer & Rose, 2002)

20 HOW UDL ENHANCES INSTRUCTION Support primary neural networks within the brain Recognition networks receive and analyze information What is this? Strategic networks allow individuals to plan and carry out activities How am I going to do that? Affective networks involve motivation and establishing priorities Why should I do this? (Rose, Meyer, & Hitchcock, 2005)


22 UDL Teaching Methods Support Recognition “What is this?”  Multiple examples  Highlight critical features  Provide multiple media and formats  Support background context Support Strategic Networks “How am I going to do that?”  Flexible models of performance  Provide opportunities to practice with supports  Provide ongoing relevant feedback  Flexible opportunities to demonstrate skills

23 UDL Teaching Methods To Support Affective Networks “Why should I do this?”  Offer choices of content specificity whenever possible  Provide multiple tools to access the curriculum  Adjust levels of challenge within assignments  Offer choices of rewards  Provide choices of learning context

24 The UDL Teaching Process Set Goals Identify standards-based learning goals Establish context Identify Status Identify methods, materials, and assessments Identify barriers Apply UDL Identify UDL materials and methods Write UDL Plan Collect and organize materials Teach UDL Lesson Teach lesson Evaluate effectiveness Unforeseen barriers? Revise

25 Is There a Difference Between UDL and Differentiated Instruction? UDL is a theoretical framework for instructional design Differentiated Instruction is a practice that can be implemented within the Universal Design framework Differentiated Instruction and UDL both encourage curricula that is flexible and designed to decrease learning barriers

26 Three Elements of Differentiation Content Several materials are used to present the content Tasks are aligned with instructional goals Instruction is concept focused and principle driven Process Flexible grouping Multiple strategies for classroom management Products Continual assessment of student progress Students as active participants Vary expectations and requirements

27 Additional Components of Differentiated Instruction Clarify key concepts Use assessment as a tool to inform instruction Emphasize critical and creative thinking Provide a balance between teacher-assigned and student-selected tasks

28 Recognition Learning “What” UDL Principle 1Differentiating Instruction Provide multiple examplesUse several elements to support instructional content Highlight critical featuresInstruction is content focused and principle driven Provide multiple media and formats Use several materials to support instruction Support background contextAssess students’ knowledge base Teaching methods

29 Strategic Learning “How” UDL Principle 2Differentiating Instruction Provide flexible models of skilled performance Demonstrate information and skills multiple times Provide opportunities to practice with supports Active and responsible learners Provide ongoing relevant feedback Vary requirements and expectations for the learning experience Offer flexible opportunities for demonstrating skill Teaching methods

30 Affective Learning “Why” UDL Principle 3Differentiating Instruction Offer choice of content and tools Effective organization Provide adjustable levels of challenge Student engagement is vital Offer choices of rewardsEffective classroom management Offer a choices of learning context Diversify instruction Teaching methods

31 Eliminating Recognition & Strategic Barriers  Differentiated Instruction  Graphic organizers (e.g., thematic maps, network tree, problem and solution map)  Advanced outlines  Digital media  Assistive Technology  Opportunities for dialogue

32 Eliminating Affective Barriers  Provide choices in context  Pique student interests  Co-teach with students  Authentic assignments  Real world applications  Technology simulations  Tools that support out-of-reach activities

33 Strategies for Building Prior Knowledge in a UDL Framework  Direct Instruction (DI) (Adams & Engelmann, 1996)  Reflection and recording (Carr & Thompson, 1996)  Interactive discussions (Jackson, Harper, & Jackson, 2005)  Answering questions (King, 1994)  The K-W-L strategy (Ogle, 1986; Fisher, Frey, & Williams, 2002)  Computer assisted activation (Biemans, Deel, & Simons, 2001)

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