The concept of UDL is the intersection where all our initiatives – integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others – come together. (Rose & Meyer 2002)
The aims of UDL:
- To remove barriers to learning
- To provide supports where they are needed
- To engage every student in a successful learning experience.
How does UDL support learning?
In the last 20 years there have been major advances in science and technologies that study how the brain works. The result has been an increased understanding of how learning occurs in the brain and the different parts of the brain that are activated during learning.
Based in research about the learning brain and the development of new digital media, UDL helps to identify and remove barriers from teaching methods and curriculum materials, enabling each student to engage with learning and to progress.
Recent research in neuroscience shows that each brain processes information differently. The way we learn is as individual as DNA or fingerprints. Research has identified three primary brain networks and the roles they play in learning.
- Recognition networks... gathers facts. How we identify and categorize what we see, hear and read. Identifying letters, words or an author's style are recognition tasks.
- Strategic networks... plans and performs tasks. How we organize and express our ideas. Writing an essay or solving a math problem are strategic tasks.
- Affective networks... how students are engaged and motivated. How they are challenged, excited or interested. These are affective dimensions.
(Don Johnston, 2007)
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Hitchcock, C., & Stahl, S., 2003 ‘Assistive technology, universal design, Universal Design for Learning: Improved opportunities’, Journal of Special Education Technology Vol 18, Issue 4, viewed 11 July 07, http://jset.unlv.edu/18.4/hitchcock/first.html (inactive)
Meyer, A. & Rose, D 2005, ‘The future is in the margins: The role of technology and disability in educational reform’. InRose, D., Meyer, A. & Hitchcock C. (Eds) The Universally Designed Classroom: Accessible Curriculum and Digital Technologies (pp 13 – 36) Cambridge, MA:Harvard Education Press.
Rose, D., & Meyer, A., 2002, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Rose, D., Hasselbring, T. S. et al. 2005, ‘Assistive technology and Universal Design for Learning: two sides of the same coin’. In D. Edyburn et al (Eds) Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp549-569) Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design
Seibert, C., (2006) ‘Success for All Learners Part I: From Dream to Reality using Universal Design for Learning’,LeaderLink eNewsletter, viewed 11 July 07, <http://www.donjohnston.com/research/articles/LL_UDL_1_Nov2006.html>