Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Failing at UDL (part one)

chalkboard-1927332_1920As I move into my third-ish year of “doing UDL,” it seems like a good time to stop and reflect on some of my more spectacular failures in learning about and implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Replacing Teacher Instruction….completely

A few years, when the projector in my classroom died for the final time, I was given a television, an Apple TV, and an iPad to replace it.  I began recording my lessons as I taught, using the EduCreations app to record my writing and my voice on the white board on the screen.  At first, I just posted those videos in Google Classroom for students to use.

college-2104580_1920Then, I decided that, since I was teaching the same lesson four times (which gets insanely boring incredibly quickly), I would just record the lesson in the first class of the day and then I would play it for my students in the other classes.  I thought this was a great plan–after all, I was doing something “cool” and “innovative” and was also being efficient all at the same time.

Or not.

When I look at this choice with the lens of UDL, I realize that my decision to record and play my lesson was as bad as just lecturing the students, class after class, because I had not provided any choice.  All students were required to watch the video, even when that wasn’t their preference for learning.

The Failure as it Looks Today

Today, I continue to record my lessons, although, as I dive deeper into UDL, I do less and less full-class instruction (see Dr. Katie Novak’s blog post on the Death of Lecturing).  But, these days, I always offer what I call the “live version” of my planned instruction–I learned my lesson all those years ago when a parent came in and asked me when I planned to start teaching.  With that conversation in mind, I always offer the option to teach the lesson.

This year, I have pushed myself even further by writing my evaluation goal to include providing options for instruction–on days when I am planning a full-class mini-lesson on a given topic, students have the option of experiencing this in the “live” version or via an EduCreations video I have saved from earlier years.  That’s much better UDL!


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