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UDL and the Importance of Integration Throughout the Classroom

Michelle Karwowski

Professor Alqahtani

Edu315

19 April 2016
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UDL stands for Universal Design for Learning. The UDL’s focus is on the environment

in order to create an accessible place for all people, with or without disabilities, to reduce barriers

in everyday life. UDL “is a set of principles for curriculum development that give individuals

equal opportunities to learn” (About UDL, 2012). By following UDL in the classroom it

provides a framework for teaching to a variety of students and prevents a “cookie cutter”

curriculum. Therefore, applying the Universal Design for Learning in the classroom in the form

of curriculum helps students love learning.

UDL provides different variabilities, and takes into consideration that every child learns

differently and therefore should have a curriculum that is adjustable; not specific to a disability

but universal, for everyone. “UDL framework is based in the neuroscience of learning and its

principles emphasize three key aspects of pedagogy: the means of representing information, the

means for the expression of knowledge and the means of engagement in learning” (Rose, 2005,

p.509). This is important to infuse into classrooms because it makes learning universal, fun and

targets everyone’s needs. By implementing UDL, curriculum will be presented in different

ways in order for children to see multiple means of representation. Lessons will incorporate

ways that children can use every part of their brain and find out how they are an “expert learner”.

Providing multiple means of engagement is an important goal of UDL in order to create

purposeful, motivated learners (About UDL, 2012). Providing options for sustaining effort and

persistence such as varying demands and resources to optimize challenges, are principles of UDL

to help increase engagement. Providing multiple means of representation is a goal of UDL to

create resourceful, knowledgeable learners. This goal provides options to expand

comprehension, such as clarifying language and syntax as well as offering alternatives for
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auditory information. The last goal for UDL is to provide multiple means of action and

expression in order to create a strategic and goal-directed learner. By providing guides to set

goals, supporting planning and strategy development as well as using multiple media for

communication, are all ways to increase the expression of learners (About UDL, 2012). These

goals mentioned are how UDL and the curriculum create a positive learning experience in the

classroom. These goals help make the teachers aware of varying lessons and helping children

become aware of what works best for them and that learning can be done in many ways and

forms. It is the teacher's job to implement these goals of UDL in order for children to discover

this and to make sure that all of the students have an accessible way to understand their

education.

Technology also plays a big part in making these classrooms accessible for every student.

“Technology is not synonymous with UDL, but it does play a valuable role in its implementation

and conceptualization” (​UDL and Technology, 2012). Technology, when integrated into a lesson

that has incorporated the Universal Design for Learning, ensures that there are even more ways

to get children to see learning can be fun and can be easily understood. Technology does not

need to be used however it increases the variability and accessibility to many individuals making

it a universally acceptable way of teaching and presenting materials.

I watched a video on Teachers integrating technology in a UDL classroom and it shows

how using technology helps the children accomplish all the goals mentioned above. One student

said about using smart boards that, “it makes it visual and easy to learn”(Technology in the UDL

Classroom, 2013). Dave Lewis talked about how some children have reading comprehension

issues and technology allows them to enlarge the screen or have other tools necessary to help
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them make learning easier as a whole in the classroom. Technology also expands on the

knowledge and gets the children involved and engaged with the projects in the classroom.

Overall, technology integrated in a UDL classroom helps provide variability and achieve goals

set by the UDL and is a great way to expand on achieving those goals.
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References

About UDL. (2012).CAST inc. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from


http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl

UDL and Technology. (2012).CASt Inc. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from
http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udltechnology

Rose, D. H., Hasselbring, T. S.; Stahl, S., & Zabala, J. (2005). Assistive technology and
universal
design for learning: Two sides of the same coin. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins, & R. Boone
(Eds.), ​Handbook of special education technology research and practice ​(pp. 507-518).
Whitefish Bay, Wl: Knowledge by Design.

Technology in the UDL Classroom. (2013, August 26). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from
http://www.udlresource.ca/?p=1893