Creating a classroom that supports learning for all
- The premise of the universal design of learning (UDL) concept builds on three components: “engagement, representation, and action and expression,” Mike Marotta, an assistive technology professional, writes in EdSurge.
- Tools to help create an inclusive learning environment can be as simple as having students get involved in how they want to learn, to adopting digital tools. Some programs include audio recording tool Anchor, or Flipgrid, which lets children watch videos of classroom discussions and comment later — rather than force them to be active participants in the moment if they’re not comfortable.
- Educators who want to start embedding UDL principles in their classroom should take small steps, making one change at a time.
Ensuring all students have access to learning is crucial: an inclusive learning environment doesn’t just deliver academic skills, but also sets a compassionate tone that school leaders hope students model as they grow.
Curriculum designers should consider UDL concepts, tools that makes it possible for all students, including those with disabilities, to learn. While not all administrators are UDL experts, there are online resources that educators can use for check ups — ways to make sure that teaching practices and lessons are in line.
The non-profit CAST offers lesson plans, videos and links to other districts putting these tools in place. The National Center on Universal Design for Learning website also has resources. Then there is the program Flipgrid, mentioned by EdSurge, which allows students who may be physically unable to be in class everyday to still participate in daily activities. These resources can familiarize educators and curriculum leaders with best practices for educating the whole child.
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