In 2009, CAST staff featured a series of case studies of UDL in practice in its UDL Spotlight series using a Wordpress blog. Now in 2011, YOU can post your own material in UDL Connect! Consider putting together short blog entries that highlight your implementation of UDL.
Here is an updated example from the UDL Spotlight archives:
VSA: Using the UDL Guidelines in Teacher Professional Learning Communities
Originally posted by on July 2, 2009
This Spotlight was nominated by Tracey Hall, Senior Research Scientist at CAST.
VSA and its affiliate VSA of Massachusetts are exploring Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and inclusive arts teaching and learning by using the UDL Guidelines as key content for their professional development institutes and professional learning communities.
The UDL Guidelines give the teaching artists a common language for discussing student learning. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Don Glass, former Director of Outcomes and Evaluation at VSA | Kennedy Center, where he discusses what drew VSA to Universal Design for Learning.
The VSA teaching artists and teachers are geographically dispersed across the United States and needed a way to share concerns and exchange best practices for working with students with a range of learning, emotional, and developmental disabilities. The VSA professional learning community program, the Communities of Practice, gave them this opportunity. Using online and tele-conferencing tools, teaching artists work with a coach to exchange feedback on the curriculum, assessment tools, and student work samples. One collaborative digital tool they are beginning to use is VoiceThread.
VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia album that holds images, documents and videos and allows users to leave comments in a variety of ways, via: microphone, telephone, typed text, audio file, video via web-cam. VoiceThread Universal provides another display of the information that is more accessible.
This VoiceThread shows segments from a lesson taught by Marsha Parilla, a VSA of Massachusetts Teaching Artist at the Ohrenberger School in Boston. She is using dance and movement to help students explore the main ideas in a book the students are reading. At the end of the video you will also hear Kati Blair and Nicole Agois, Education Program Managers at VSA of MA, explain how Marsha and the teachers are using UDL strategies to get at their main learning goal of having the students understand the concepts in the storybook.
How VSA teacher practice aligns with the UDL Guidelines: Many of the UDL Guidelines resonate with arts learning opportunities by providing multi-modal options for representing and engaging with the content, and by providing options for students to express or demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The arts are a wonderful forum to explore inclusive teaching and learning practices!
Multiple Means of Representation
Checkpoint 2.5: Illustrate through multi-media.
The teaching artist increases students’ access to content through the use of different sensory modalities. For example, the teacher artist reads the story aloud and uses illustrations to build comprehension.
Checkpoint 3.2: Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships.
In addition to the read-aloud and illustrations, the teaching artist uses guiding prompt questions to highlight the critical features of the curriculum: prediction and imagination.
Multiple Means of Action and Expression
4.1: Vary methods for physical response and navigation. In the movement exercises, the teaching artist provides alternative options for the students to respond to the literature.
5.1: Use multiple media for communication. The teaching artist offers multiple ways for the students to compose – through speech, music, movement, and dance.
Multiple Means of Engagement
7.1: Optimize individual choice and autonomy. The teaching artist gives students the choice in the kinds of movements to use for their collaborative machines and cool down.
8.3: Foster collaboration and community. The teaching artist has students work in small groups to build on each other’s movements. This requires collaboration and communication to make sure the machine parts integrate well as a whole and the meaning of the movements are aligned with the function of the machine.
Access the complete version of the UDL Guidelines: Version 2.0