Q: Dear Miss Conceptions,
My school is working to build a UDL environment, so what kind of technology should I be using? I already use technology in my instruction, so what do I need to change?
A: First of all Techanxious, it is important to remember that UDL does not mean technology. Technology can be used as one of the many tools to provide students with accessibility to the curriculum. UDL is a planning framework â a mindset that guides how you plan your instruction. A UDL instructional approach refers to removing barriers in instruction and providing variety in how information is presented to students and how they would like to demonstrate their understanding. We are also reminded to consider how we can hook our students and keep them engaged. Some of the best tools are in fact low or NO tech!
One of the best ways to make your instruction accessible to all of your learners is to differentiate to their needs.
The following lesson requires no technology, yet is designed from the beginning to reach all of the learners using visual cues, tiered question sets and Multiple Intelligence learning centers:
The second piece to remember about technology is that it should be used with purpose. We should identify a need or a purpose and then search for a technology to fit that purpose â not the other way around. If using Powerpoint in your classroom works, and your students are engaged, donât stress about learning how to use a fancy new Prezi. However, if you find your studentsâ poster projects are getting dull, introduce them to Glogster. Again, it is all about knowing your students and planning with purpose. Choose one or two new tech tools or websites for the year and focus your energy on mastering them, rather than trying to juggle all of the latest and greatest!
Creating a âPositiveâ Classroom Community
Last week, a group of Pembina Hills teachers had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Jennifer Katz speak about her âThree- Block Model of Universal Design for Learningâ. The first block works to create a âcommunityâ within the classroom by addressing social and emotional learning and includes three practices: Spirit Buddies, Democratic Classrooms and the Respecting Diversity Program. Dr. Katz is passionate about understanding that stress levels, sense of belonging and connectedness all affect how students learn. Brain based research tells us:
âStudents whose life circumstances are constantly stressful become physically damaged. But the hormone does leave the system quickly when the stressor is no longer present. Half an hour after the car incident, the shakiness will pass. When our schools offer a safe haven for students under stress, their cortisol levels will reduce after they arrive at school, their stress will subside, and they will be better able to enjoy their learning. â(Page 28, âTeaching to Diversity The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learningâ)
Arlene Bujold of Westlock Elementary has already put âSpirit Buddiesâ into practice in her grade 5 classroom. She writes,
âIt was really touching today to see some of my shy and quiet students engaging in non-academic conversations (Spirit Buddies) and I was especially pleased to see the leadership roles that some of the students took on!â
Some comments from Arleneâs students:
MORE ABOUT âSPIRIT BUDDIESâ â¦ âSpirit Buddiesâ is a simple practice that ensures that every child starts their day on a positive note. Students self-select groups of three for the month or term; choosing partners that they donât usually spend time with. These groups spend up to 15 minutes a day sharing. This practice creates a classroom where everyone knows someone, feels connected and is welcomed.
WANT MORE INFORMATION â¦ For more information on âSpirit Buddiesâ and the rest of the âThree Block Model of Universal Design for Learningâ plan on attending the workshop offered by ERLC or pick up Dr. Jennifer Katzâs book, âTeaching to Diversity The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learningâ.
COURSE CODE: 13-IE-028
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dorena-wm/5114209732/">dorena-wm</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
We are excited about all the collaborative group projects that teachers will be involved with over the course of this school year. The AISI Researching Team thanks you for your active participation.
We have created a visual display with the feedback you have provided for us during the collaborative group meeting times.
The first link is a visual created from the Web 2.0 tool called Tagxedo. The display is a representation of the words that came from the feedback telling us what you enjoyed about the time spent in your collaborative group meetings
The second link is a visual created from the tool called Wordle . This display is a representation of the words that came from the feedback telling us your suggestions or "wants". It is loud and clear that time is something we all 'want' more of. The words that come out the largest are the words that were mentioned most often.
Finally, the last link is from the icebreaker on UDL that each group was asked to complete as a Think Tac Toe. We added some of what we heard from groups and one hot link to investigate/explore. Thanks Darcie Eamor for suggesting this J
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ Shirley Craighttp://www.blogger.com/profile/090379521729585754470
We are excited to be working with teachers in PHRD. The following links will be used in our initial collaborative group meetings to guide us through the principles of UDL/DI and facilitate the collaborative process.
UDL Framework Overview
Collaborative Group Reporting Form
AISI Cycle 5 Teacher Survey
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.