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UDL Unplugged: The Role of Technology in UDL

This paper examines the question of whether technology is central to the foundations of UDL or whether UDL is useful as a pedagogical framework that goes beyond technology. This paper uses the UDL guidelines as a structural framework through which to examine these questions.

 

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I couldn't agree more with your opinion, Anne. As Glen said earlier in this discussion - technology is a tool. And it can mean any tool, such as a graphic display on chart paper or even a highlighter. I've heard some people say that the advances in digital technology were really the inspiration for UDL because we finally had a way to meet individual learning needs in an effective, efficient way. That makes good sense, especially when the technology is integrated seemlessly into the instructional strategies. In today's world, digital technology is a great 'hook' to engage some learners who otherwise might not be interested. Technology can help create that 'life-changing' event that Kerry mentioned. But, what I like most about what you said is that whatever technology we provide should lead students to become the 'purposeful, engaged, expert learners' who continue their own learning in environments outside of school. That's our ultimate goal, right? It's one way to get to the 'self-regulation' piece of the UDL Guidelines.

 

Thanks for clarifying and looping this together for us.

 

What other ideas about the use of technology could apply to the UDL Guidelines? Does anyone know of any planning tools that help educators make purposeful decisions about what technology to use in various learning environments?      

Patti, you said,  "It's one way to get to the 'self-regulation' piece of the UDL Guidelines." Can you tell me more about your experience with this statement? 

 

Good question :-) UDL Guideline 9 describes the importance of supporting motivation and engagement to help learners to become 'self-regulating' expert learners. For example, the checkpoints associated with Guideline 9 speak to fostering positive beliefs and realistic self-reflection regarding personal expectations and what students find motivating. As we all know, learning environments are imperfect - they can be frustrating or distracting. Through self-reflection, expert learners figure out how to effectively cope with the environment (e.g., distractions, anxiety, frustrations) and productively manage their own emotions, affect and engagement. 

 

Ultimately, the UDL Guidelines define 'expert learners' as resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, goal-directed, purposeful and motivated. I think the main point is that using digital technology as a learning tool can be motivating in itself and it can also provide problem-solving practice and supports for 'self-regulation.' 

 

I'm not sure that I explained this as well as others might. The National UDL Center has some examples - http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/examples/examples9_3. Maybe others have examples they are willing to share? 

 

 

Help! We are getting a class set of ipods for 6 weeks. As a staff, we are asking the question, "What tools and processes support diverse learners most?"

We really want to explore this event. Ideally, we could make a case to our board about how powerful this technology can be for children's learning. Getting the students to make the case about how they became 'expert learners' (I have little doubt that they will)...just as you said above:

Ultimately, the UDL Guidelines define 'expert learners' as resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, goal-directed, purposeful and motivated. I think the main point is that using digital technology as a learning tool can be motivating in itself and it can also provide problem-solving practice and supports for 'self-regulation.' 

 

Where do you think we should start? Has anyone else tried this? I would love to hear what you think about how to show, how to determine, how to report that the ipod is this powerful learning tool and that it can lead students to self regulation and motivation.

What an exciting opportunity!

Are you getting iPod Touchs?

As with all new tools and technology, the learning goals should guide the use--it's so easy to be distracted by all the bells and whistles. Providing explicit instruction on how each feature can be used to support learning, maybe focusing on one at a time,  will help the students make better decisions about how to use it as they become more independent.

I have not used an iPod in a classroom but it seems that students could use them for creating all kinds of their own content and sharing it, researching information and participating in educational gaming.

There are amazing resources online for using iPods in the classroom. I just googled "ipod touch in classrooms" and found hundreds of ideas.

There is a blog that consolidates a lot of the information.

Do you have money for additional apps for the ipods? It seems like there are loads of educational apps out there.

 

I hope others who have used iPods in the classroom will join in the discussion.

When planning lessons keeping the principles of UDL in mind I always remember what I know and what holds true...UDL removes barriers to able students and its solutions are both High and Low tech; as mentioned in the previous comment technology refers to any "tool". It's important to know your students their learning styles and their needs (the Barriers) and from that choose the technology/tool that best reduces or eliminates their barrier High or Low tech.   

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