Reach and Teach All Students: UDL and AT - Part 2

Video Transcript

Hi and thank you for joining us for the webinar on Reach and Teach All Students: Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology Part 2. My name is Jeff McCormick and I am an Administrator for OCALI. Also presenting today's session is Heather Bridgman, a rehabilitation engineer and Jan Rogers, an occupational therapist both, and Shawna Benson a former classroom teacher. OCALI is the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. We serve families, educators and professionals working with students with autism and low incidence disabilities. Today we will be talking about Universal Design for Learning and the flexible technology for diverse learners. As you view this presentation, you will have the opportunity to learn about and experience some of the features of Universal Design for Learning. Before we begin the session, we would like to provide you with a few tips that will make your experience more rewarding and enjoyable. First, we would like to let you know that your microphones have been muted. We find it best that you do not click outside of the Go-To-Meeting Webinar window during the presentation. If you have any questions about the content of today's presentation, please use the chat interaction tool located at the right portion of your Go-To-Meetings screen. For all locations that have more than one participant, we are asking that you take a moment right now to count the people watching this presentation. If you are not alone, please use the Chat tool to indicate how many additional people are in your room besides the person who registered. If you are watching alone, you do not need to chat us. Let's take a few minutes to review from our previous webinar.

1. What are the guiding principles of Universal Design for Learning? They are Multiple Means of representation, expression, and engagement.
2. What does Universal Design for Learning provide to students in your classroom? UDL considers the needs of all learners, provides a flexible curriculum, and provides students with a wide variety of options.
3. Why is it important to know how a student thinks and learns? Students process information differently, and students have different learning styles that teachers should know in order to provide a flexible curriculum.

Let's take a moment to review the following video. The video depicts the principles that support Universal Design for Learning in the classroom. UDL Prestest. It might be a good idea to first establish a connection between Universal Design for Learning and other sound educational principles with which we are already familiar. (CLICK). We can take a look at what falls under the "Umbrella of UDL. Universal Design for Learning, which encompasses the following: Inclusion, that all students have a basic right to the full curriculum. Multiple Intelligence means that all students have a right to learn based on their strengths and all students learn differently. Differentiated Instruction looks at the needs of individual students -- making sure materials and instructional strategies meet the individual needs.

Technology Integration points to technology which, should be integrated into every aspect of a students day and supports their learning. And Response to Intervention is used to provide early, effective assistance to students who are having difficulty learning. As with all best practices, there are always barriers to implementation. Barriers such as an inflexible, one-size-fits-all curriculum that raises unintentional road-blocks to learning. UDL is an approach to learning that addresses these barriers. It can assist all students to become expert learners. Let's take a look at a 21st Century Classroom. The students are expert learners in the educational setting. What are your reactions to the students in the video? We feel the goal of education is not simply the mastery of knowledge; it is the mastery of learning. Education should help turn novice learners into expert learners—individuals who know how to learn, who want to learn, and who, in their own individual ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning. Diversity is the norm, not the exception, wherever individuals are gathered, including schools. When curriculum materials are designed to meet the needs of the broad middle to the exclusion of those with different abilities, learning styles, backgrounds, and even preferences, they fail to provide all individuals with fair and equal opportunities to learn. One of the questions we should ask ourselves is "Do we Fix the Student or the Curriculum?" For many years, we helped individuals adapt - that is, to overcome their disabilities in order to learn within the general education curriculum. That work, which commonly focused on assistive technologies, is an important facet of any educational plan. However, educators came to see that this focus on assistive technology was too narrow. It obscured the critical role of the environment in determining who is or is not considered "disabled." We should shift our focus to the general curriculum and its limitations, specifically addressing how those limitations contribute to the "disabling" of our students. The burden of adaptation should first be placed on the curriculum, not on the learner. Because most curricula are not adapted to individual differences, we have come to recognize that our curricula, rather than our students, are "disabled." As previously stated, our goal with UDL is to have all students become "Expert Learners" This can be accomplished through flexible design beginning with Instructional Goals, Methods, Materials, and Assessment. With supports and scaffolds, students are able to overcome physical and/or cognitive barriers to learning. In this presentation, we will devote our time to exploring the implementation of UDL, by looking at each of these areas: Goals, Materials, Instruction/Methods, and Assessment. Through the implementation of UDL in each of these areas, teachers can provide a flexible learning environment with scaffolds and supports for all learners. This slide was taken from the UDL toolkit in the "Teaching Every Student" section of the CAST website. The schematic describes the "PAL" Toolkit and PAL stands for "Planning for All Learners". The toolkit is rich with procedures, examples and resources for a team to begin applying UDL concepts to their curriculum to promote access for all. As shown in the schematic - the process begins with setting goals related to the topic of study and aligned to the content standards. The next step is to analyze the student's current status and identify any barriers to the curriculum. Utilizing the tools associated with this toolkit, the teacher can then begin to apply UDL to support the needs of all learners in the classroom. This step involves writing a UDL plan and collecting the necessary supports and materials for the lesson. Finally, the lesson is taught, evaluated and revised. The circular pattern in this graphic implies that this is not just a step-by-step process, but that the student's needs must be revisited along the way and the lesson may need to be adjusted or modified for future use. We are going to begin talking about designing curriculum using UDL principles by first discussing instructional goals. But before we get into the specifics of developing instructional goals with UDL in mind, we have a few parameters we need to establish. Most states have determined the academic content standards and educational indicators they expect students to know and be able to do at each grade level. These content standards and educational indicators are defined for ALL students, in spite of the diversity that exists among the student population. So we have common indicators and goals YET a very diverse gathering of students. Next we need to be aware that educational standards and indicators are also specific to the grade level of the student and the academic content area and are NOT changeable. So you might ask yourself, how are we to address individual student needs when the educational indicators are not flexible or changeable? One of the standard ways of creating some flexibility for our struggling students in a traditional classroom is to add accommodations to help students access the content. Accommodations are defined as "Changes made in the way materials are presented or in the way students respond to the materials, as well as changes in setting, timing and scheduling, with the expectation that the student will reach the standard set for all students". Some students with significant special education needs may also need more than accommodations and may instead have modification to their instructional content. Modifications are defined as, "Changes made to the content that students are expected to learn where amount or complexity of materials is significantly altered from grade-level curriculum expectations" It should be noted that significant modifications are typically only used for those students who are eligible to take the alternate assessment. Definitions of terms modification and accommodations were taken from the Ohio Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities Administration Manual, 2009-2010. In Special Education, accommodations enable access to educational content through the use of flexible methods and materials. As we discussed earlier in the webinar, with UDL, flexible methods and materials are available to all students. Because of this flexibility it is often possible to reduce or eliminate the need for accommodations (as many needs which previously existed in a traditional classroom, are automatically fulfilled). Unlike many of our students, the student in the cartoon is able to identify and share her unique learning needs. She reminds her teacher, "As we start a new school year, Mr. Smith, I just want you to know that I'm an Abstract-Sequential learner and trust that you'll conduct yourself accordingly". We know that in our classrooms students are rarely so forthright in sharing their unique learning needs. If we are open to the idea of designing our instruction with the principles of UDL in mind we will be able to flexibly meet the varied needs of most, if not all of our students. Here are some ideas for applying UDL to Instruction…. if we first "universally design" our lesson plans to meet the needs of more learners, there will be fewer "struggling" learners in need of further accommodations With UDL we plan for methods and materials to be flexible so that all students can complete the task using the tools that best meet their needs so they can "show what they know" in reference to the indicator. Let's look at this sample of a 9th grade indicator within the social studies standard and geography area. The indicator states that students should be able to "analyze the social, political, economic and environmental factors that have contributed to human migration now and in the past. Now let's look at a teacher's instructional objectives or goals. The teachers instructional goal states, Given 2 scenarios (one from present day and one from the 1800's), students will analyze, record and share the social, political, economic and environmental factors that caused people to move. Can you find evidence that the objective/goal supports or incorporates the indicator? Let's see if you can locate the words in the goal statement that directly reflects the essence of the grade-level indicator. The highlighted words represent the direct connection to the grade level indicator. Were you able to pick these out of the instructional goal? Remember the grade level indicators are what all students are expected to know or be able to do at a given grade level. The grade level indicators should NOT be altered. Now, look for the words that relate to the materials and methods that will be employed to carry out the objective. Did you find the methods and materials? The words that are highlighted represent the methods and materials.
Unlike the items in the goal that are related to the indicator, the items related to methods and materials ARE flexible and can allow for variety if written in a general way. For example the 2 scenarios mentioned in the goal could cover a variety of historical events within the given time frames. Students could be given opportunities to make choices of the historical events they analyze thus appealing to their special interests and providing multiple means of student engagement. Additionally the two scenarios could be provided to the students in traditional text, in a digital format or as a video thus providing multiple means of representation. The methods of record and share are also fairly open-ended. Students could record verbally with voice recordings such as with Voice Thread, handwrite responses or type responses. To share students could exchanging papers, share a google document, share a multimedia presentation or give a speech. All of these things provide students with opportunities for multiple means of expression. As you can see there are many ways to make the methods and materials flexible if they are written with flexibility in mind. With UDL, a teacher will write objectives/goals that support the Indicator, are clear & understandable, and yet allow for flexibility with methods and materials. Separating a goal from the method and material, means that the goal statement does not specifically define the methods & materials that are to be used to carry out the objective. Here is an example of a goal that has been written too specifically in terms of the methods and materials. This goal would exclude a number of students from successfully achieving the goal as written. For example, students with significant motor limitations may have difficulty writing the list of key events and students with below grade level reading skills may be unable to access the information from the history textbook being used in the classroom.

Rewriting the goal so that students DEVELOP a list of key events rather than WRITE a list of key events would allow students a variety of ways to express what they know so that it is specific to their individual needs. For the student with a motor limitation that is unable to write the key events they may instead opt to voice record their responses or they may be able to create a pictorial timeline to demonstrate the key events of the French Revolution. For the student that is unable to read at grade level rather than using a textbook that student my gather their list of key events of the French Revolution from digital textbooks or internet resources while using text-to- speech software so the information is read aloud to the student. They may also utilize video resources such as from INFOhio's digital video collection or YouTube videos to gather the needed information. In this example, the Indicator is from 4th Grade Language Arts, Reading Process, Indicator 4. The teacher's classroom instructional goal is "Students will write, using pencil and paper, a paragraph that summarizes the the main idea from the book "Where the Red Fern Grows". You should now know that you should be asking yourself the following questions: Can I identify the parts of the goal that relate directly to the indicator? Can I identify the methods and materials that are written into this goal? Can I also identify what parts of this goal are not written flexibly? Okay now that you have had some time to think about your responses. Let's take a look at the next slide and see if you are correct in your assessment. This is the classroom goal we discussed on the previous slide.If you guessed "write using pencil and paper, a paragraph" as the method then you are correct and if you guessed "Where the Red Fern Grows" as the material then you are again correct. Hopefully you are also now aware that those methods and materials are not flexible and that many students in your classroom will not be able to access the materials or show what they know using the methods as stated in this particular goal .Here is another way to satisfy the academic indicator but with methods and materials that are more flexible. Notice that now the student is only required to summarize the main idea. The method of summarization is not identified so the student could type, handwrite, outline, complete a paragraph, record, complete a multimedia presentation or use many other methods of summarizing the main ideas. The student has been given choices that provide multiple means of expression and engagement. The materials are also changed as the specific book is no longer suggested but now it is open to a "text of interest". Again we allow the students choice in text selection so that it might be a novel of interest, a magazine article or other text-based materials. Students have the opportunity to be provided with multiple means of engagement based on the limitless choices that are now available. The also have the opportunity for multiple means of representation since the text of the book can be in a variety of formats including digital formatting that allows for enlargement, color enhancement, text-to-speech, formatting alterations. etc. Even with these significant changes to both materials and methods the original indicators are still reflected in the classroom goal. Now that you have an idea of writing flexible instructional goals we would like to share a tool that will help you write goals for implementing UDL into your lesson planning.
The Cast UDL Goal Setter is an online template that helps educators define clear goals for students, representing the core instructional purpose of the learning activity and multiple pathways for achieving the goal. Using this form, the teacher is directed to determine the main focus of the goal and its core instructional components. Then, this information can help determine the variable instructional components and possible scaffolds. There is an on-line tutorial to walk a teacher through the process of analyzing learning standards and benchmarks through the lens of UDL. Visit the Cast website for more information about putting UDL into practice. The comprehensive list of tools is available at Here you will find a number of tools including the Cast UDL Goal Setter Tool and tutorial. Now we'll move into the area of implementing UDL through lesson planning. Between goal setting and deciding upon methods and materials there is a critical step…taking a look at your classroom make-up. In an effort to Universally Design our instruction we must take into account the variety of learners who may or may not be present in our class. We must ask ourselves a very critical question "Can all of your students access the curriculum? Let's take a look at just a few of the students who make up your class. This is Charlie. He is just one of the students in your class. His learner characteristics are unique to him. Charlie is a constant source of energy in class. He dives headlong into classroom activities, jumps out of his seat to answer questions, and constantly seeks new things to do and join. He finishes few of the things he starts. When boredom descends or something new comes up, he quickly abandons his task, regardless of whether it is complete. This is true not only for extended projects, such as a science fair or book report, but also for short-term tasks like looking up a word in the dictionary. Without help, Charlie rarely completes his schoolwork. He forgets his homework and textbook nearly every day, and despite his enthusiasm, he is rarely ready to begin an activity with the rest of the class. At first glance, it seems that Charlie's problem is "distractibility." However, if his teacher minimizes distractions, Charlie creates his own. Furthermore, when engaged in an activity that interests him, like Nintendo or sometimes a school project he loves, he can be focused for long periods of time. At these moments, it can be nearly impossible to dislodge him in order to reach Charlie with your instruction you might have to provide him with instruction that aligns with his areas of strength. In this case Charlie will need instruction that includes connection between content goals/indicators and his areas of interest. Charlie may also need instruction and expressions that allow him to use his Kinesthetic abilities to complete projects rather than written assignments. This is Jamal. He is another learner in your class. His characteristics are also unique to him. Jamal is a young man with cerebral palsy. He is an enthusiastic student, well on his way to becoming an expert on military tanks and submarines. From his home computer he has found and collected hundreds of photos, stories, and Web sites devoted to these mobile weapons. Jamal uses a wheelchair for mobility and a variety of assistive technologies to write and operate his computer. Jamal speaks quite slowly, but intelligibly. With great difficulty, he can write and draw with pen and paper. He is much more facile and successful using his computer with an expanded keyboard and voice recognition system. Jamal is barely keeping up in the mainstream classroom, in part because of increasing amounts of required reading and writing. Science and social studies particularly engage him, and he uses his strong strategic skills (such as his ability to seek, locate, and save information) to good effect in these classes. However, because of his motor difficulties, Jamal must invest tremendous effort just to keep pace, and at times he becomes discouragedJamal may need extended time to complete written work or assistive tools that enable him to complete written work at a faster pace. He may also benefit from assignments that require him to complete only the amount of product that will allow the teacher to gain understanding of his content knowledge. For example if the goal/indicator is that the class demonstrate the ability to write a paragraph, have him write one paragraph rather than writing a complete story containing many paragraphs. Likewise in math rather than Jamal completing the assigned all odd or all even problems give him 3 problems of each type being measured. This is Paula. She is yet another student in your class. Her learner characteristics are unique to her as well. Paula's skills are extremely varied. Despite excellent single word decoding and spelling, Paula's comprehension is poor. She has difficulty grasping meaning from connected text, and her limited reading fluency suggests that she does not use context well to predict words and ideas as she is reading. This makes getting meaning from text quite laborious and slow. She can spell individual words well, but when she is writing connected text she gets bogged down trying to express concepts, and the mechanics of her writing deteriorate. Though she understands literal meanings in spoken language well, and can follow a story or an argument, Paula seems to miss some of the subtle cues carried by tone of voice and other vocal nuances so that she often interprets language very literally. Since Paula often misses intended humor and misinterprets things said by others, her peers see her as somewhat odd. In order for the content to reach Paula you might have to provide her with instruction and materials that include auditory formats. If group projects are part of the work goals Paula may need to be primed for the interaction. This priming could possibly including a designated role with description and/or scripting and role playing difficult peer interaction scenarios in advance. In addition Paula may need a variety of tools or choices in response to showing what she know about each goal or indicator. Possibly including speech-to-text or audio recording of responses others may be writing. Now let's look back at your whole class containing these and many more learners with unique characteristics and needs. It is clear that Universal Design is necessary in order to meet this demand for variety. Remember that Universal Design calls for multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. Here is an example of how UDL planning may be implemented into a classroom. This video clip shows how the teacher incorporated multiple means of representation throughout his lesson about aerosol cans. If you watched our first UDL webinar - you saw this movie in its entirety. Here we are dissecting the movie a bit - to highlight specific aspects of UDL.
This video shows how the class was able to utilize multiple means of expression throughout the aerosol can lesson. Our final principle is multiple means of engagement. Of course the movie about aerosol cans was engaging for the students. And if you recall, one of the things the teacher did was stop the movie part-way through and have them complete a scavenger hunt. That was certainly engaging for most. Here are some more ideas for the concept of engagement taken from the aerosol can movie. Now that we have seen the product that UDL offers, let's focus on how we can get there. In order to meet the needs of all learners we need to plan ahead. We will now look at some resources for planning for the implementation of UDL. There are many templates, formats and examples of Universally designed lesson plans available. In the next few slides we will highlight only a few. We are in no way recommending these over others that may also be equally usable. The CAST website houses samples that feature annotated connections with Universal Design. CAST also provides access to an online UDL lesson builder that is accessible after registering.This lesson plan template is shown in two parts and is available in a PDF download from the University of Kansas site called Special Connections. Please look for the web link on the next slide. This template is a variation offered by Don Johnston and is available in Universal Design for Learning Professional Learning Plan book. The Loudon County Public Schools have compiled a list of web resources that offer UDL plans and templates including some of the models we have shown here. Other sites include Technology Resources for Education, Livingston SD and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Now let's take a closer look at applying the three guiding principles of UDL to the area of assessment.

This cartoon is a great example of the limitations of traditional assessment. There is a teacher giving direction to his class of students which include a variety of animans. And he says to his students, "To ensure a fair selection you all get the same test. You must all climb that tree."Of course this will be impossible for certain members of the group, such as the fish or the elephant, but others such as the bird, will be able to reach to the top with minimal effort. So is it fair to assess everyone in the same way - with the same test? It may be possible to provide different types of assessments or different representations of the assessment to reach more students. These are some of the barriers that are typically found in traditional assessment: First we have "Individual Learning Differences". Historically, "fairness" in assessment meant that assessments are uniform in format and administered in a "standardized" fashion. This presents problems for some students who may have weaknesses in one area or another, but if our assessment is variable, we may be able to test the student based on their strengths and allow them to demonstrate their knowledge in different ways. Next, we have "Media Constraints". Sometimes there is a miss-match between the type of skill or knowledge being measured and the medium used to portray that concept. For example, drama and poetry might be better expressed through speech rather than with text. Another example is that a diagram or concept map might be used to express the relationship between items better than a text-based outline. With traditional assessment, there is often a lack of appropriate supports. Some teachers are reluctant to allow appropriate supports such as magnified text or digital text because they feel it offers the student an unfair advantage on the assessment. In reality appropriate supports only allow students to show what they know about the content. Finally - traditional assessment typically relies heavily on summative assessment where the student is tested on their knowledge at the end of a chapter or unit. Consider using multiple, flexible ongoing assessments also known as formative assessment so that the testing of the student is integrated with the instruction. Assessment that is flexibly designed ensures accessibility for every student, and provides supports that a student normally uses. This next section will identify some possible examples for flexible assessment in the areas of representation, expression and engagement. Here are some examples of ways that assessment can be represented. The most common, of course, is through written exams. Another option would be to provide oral inquiry to the student and allow them to defend their answers verbally. A digital test or exam could also be provided which would allow the student to modify it to their needs such as increasing the font or adding "text-to-speech" for auditory presentation of the written questions. Here are some ways that students can express their knowledge in the assessment process. The student could provide a written or oral response. The student could type their answers or use multimedia tools such as Powerpoint or Animoto. By the way, Animoto, is a multimedia tool that allows the student to upload pictures or images about a topic - but there are tons of multimedia authoring tools available for free on the Internet and they could be used by a student to explain a topic or express their knowledge of a certain concept. Drawing or drama are two other options to express learning. These are examples of ways to engage our students. Multimedia options through the use of color graphics, sounds, animations, and simulation are fun and appealing for many students. Leveled assessments enable students to work at comfortable and appropriate stages of difficulty. For example, the wording of assessment questions may be offered at different reading levels or the responses may be limited to a reduced number of choices. Sometimes, it is possible to vary the content that a student is studying by letting them choose a subject matter. An example of this would be allowing the student to write a paper about any historical figure of their choosing or to demonstrate the scientific process with any experiment. Varied content in an English class, for example, enables selection of passages that appeal to wide-ranging student interests.

Here is a video that exemplifies many aspects of UDL. It involves children ages 9-12 from all over the world working collaboratively to complete a writing project. The Cast UDL Curriculum Self Check is an online tool that can be used to align your specific curriculum to the UDL guidelines. Once you upload your document or lesson plan, the tool asks step-by-step questions that allow you to rate yourself on different aspects of curriculum design - including goals, methods, materials and assessment. At the end, it generates a summary report with a graphic representation of your ratings. Thanks for joining us for the webinar titled Reach and Teach All Students: Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology. We hope you enjoyed the presentation and discovered some new teaching ideas and resources that you can implement right away in your school to support the students you serve. Don't forget to explore the CAST website for many more resources related to UDL. Those resources can be found at Thanks again for learning with OCALI. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information, contact your regional OCALI Coach at

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that can help provide access to the general curriculum for all students including those with diverse learning needs. This second segment in the series focuses on UDL principles. Case examples are used to guide learners through implementation of the principles with all learners.

Reach and Teach All Students: UDL and AT

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