The focus this week was on creating learning activities that are flexible in presentation, learning and assessment. Rose and Meyer (2002) says, “Today’s typical classroom might include students whose first language is not English; students who are not reading on grade level; students with behavioral , attention and motivational problems; students from varied cultural backgrounds and students classified as gifted. In addition there are students with particular needs such as limited vision, motor disabilities, emotional difficulties, speech and language difficulties and learning disabilities.” With the vacillating levels of abilities both physical and mental along with larger class sizes teachers must work harder for each student to achieve classroom success. Rose and Meyer (2002) recommend creating lessons that have students access the three learning networks in the brain: recognition, strategic and affective.
The recognition network is used to discern patterns in information as well as relate it to patterns students are already familiar with. For all students to distinguish and recognize the “pattern” information may need to be demonstrated in multiple ways that can include visually, kinesthetic, physical etc. Digital media provides teachers the ability to reach a wide variety of resources in order to reach all students.
The strategic network focuses on the problem solving area of the brain. In this part of the brain students learn new information and relate it to previous knowledge. To develop this area teachers should provide many examples of the correct process as well as incorrect so students can learn the correct way. There are models of the processes that can be explained using digital media. Students can use the Internet to read, watch, talk and even play with other people about the processes.
The affective part of the brain during learning connects students to the “why”. “Giving students choices of content and tools can increase their enthusiasm for learning particular processes” (Rose and Meyer 2002). Linking a student’s interest to a skill they need to build is key. When a student is actively engaged in the learning focusing on their interests allows them to sustain focus and create a better understanding of the lesson being taught.
Technology and other digital media is an important part of the UDL lesson. Focusing on the structure and strategies of teaching the lesson, educators can use technology that allows them to meet the students’ needs for each network of learning. This is a process that allows all students regardless of their abilities to be able to achieve educational success.
Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web Site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October, 5, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes