UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL and Technology

This summer, I have been lucky enough to co-teach a graduate course on integrating Technology into your Universal Design for Learning practice.  My co-teacher and I approached the course as an opportunity for teachers to “makeover” their work using the UDL Guidelines and UDL Progression Rubric, while also looking at integrating technology.

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There is a bit of a love-hate relationship between UDL and technology.  On the one hand, none of us who teach UDL want teachers to think they can’t “do UDL” because they lack access to technology.  UDL is not technology; it’s a pedagogical framework.  On the other hand, technology facilitates the addition of choice and the removal of barriers in a way no other tool does, hence the relationship between the two topics.

 

For example, when we want to offer authentic learning experiences in a language classroom, Skype, WhatsApp, and other online sites offer the connections we need.  When we have students who struggle to read text, Google Read/Write opens up the world of text and encourages students to choose this tool as they need, not when dictated by an educational plan.  When I am trying to “replace myself” to reduce full-class instruction, it’s technology in the form of videos and other tools that makes that possible.

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It’s important to note that you do not have to be an expert in technology to be able to use it to strengthen your UDL practice.  On the contrary, you just have to be open to options possible with technology.

  • Have the students do the work–let them choose a technology option and let them figure out how to use it!
  • Remember it’s an option, not something that requires 100% participation, so student can move on if it’s not working for them.
  • You don’t need to be one-to-one to increase the selection of options–just a single technology option, one ChromeBook or one iPad or one whatever, opens up the options.

 

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