This week I created a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) lesson plan. It took a much longer time to do a good lesson plan than I thought I would. It also makes me realize the lesson plans I used to turn in were “incomplete”. Of course, I am fortunate that our district has a curriculum framework for all courses that includes diversification, scaffolding, technology interventions, and accommodations. That being said, I am glad that I learned about UDL.
I think the affective network, which involves providing choices for students, is the most important network. Nothing causes a student to shut down more than being told to do something. Give a student an option, and they are more likely to do what you want. I also think it’s important to tap into a student’s recognition network which relates the material being learned to prior knowledge. I believe this adds value to what the students are learning, at least in their minds. Lastly, the strategic network is the most practical network. It involves providing accurate feedback and appropriate examples for students to observe. When I taught math, I made sure I modeled how to solve word problems, including the mental processes I used to solve the problems.
Incorporating technology into a lesson plan increases the effectiveness of UDL strategies, as long as the technology enhances the lesson content. Students should be able to use technologies of their choice to increase their understanding of content or to be able to complete their task more easily. I believe Rose and Meyer sum it up well in their book Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning, “As teachers, whether we are addressing individual differences in our students' recognition, strategic, or affective networks, we can provide the best support by individualizing pathways to learning” (2002).
Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web site. Chapter 6. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/