Lesson Design and Revision Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

23 Jun

No two learners learn in the same way. Traditional curriculum teaches to a few different types of learners, but rarely, if at all encompasses an entire classroom of learners. This week we learned about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) or an approach to lesson design to reach all of our uniquely gifted learners in our classrooms. I found it interesting that many technologies that have existed for many years can be applied to the UDL approach and be used to aid not only the people they were created for, but others as well. One of those technologies is the microphone, (sound transmitted via radio frequency) and I even now use a few to accommodate people in my classroom. Without it, I would end up having to use a louder voice, which in turn, ends up distracting a different learner in my environment. It amazes me that such a simple device can cater not only to the person with a hearing impairment, but also the learner that is easily distracted by loud noises. In this post, you will see how I have transformed an existing lesson plan (from Week 2) to meet the principles of UDL and fulfill all the learning styles and needs that appear in my classroom. Below is a link to the revised lesson plan:

Maker-kit Lesson Plan (with UDL)

Looking back on this experience applying concepts of UDL to my Maker-kit lesson plan, I feel that above all I have addressed the need to accommodate all of my unique learners. That, in and of itself, is a challenge. To put this into perspective, the Center for Applied Special Technologies, or CAST, stated that “the way people learn is as unique as their fingerprints” (2010). As much as I would love to, I don’t think that creating 200+ individual lesson plans to meet all the different “fingerprints” would be a practical use of my time. Enter UDL, and a more workable solution presents itself. Something I noticed in the redesign of my lesson plan was the greater amount of time necessary to complete it, compared to a more traditional lesson plan. One thing is for sure, a complete UDL plan takes far less time than 200 plans! After we were given a template from CAST to organize our lessons, I noticed that I had supported UDL ideas in many ways. For one, my lesson included manipulation of materials in various ways (multiple color centers). Another way my lesson followed UDL principles was that it mixed and “hands-on” activity with other avenues such as text. Further, the lesson in its original form contained ample opportunity for active participation, experimentation, and exploration. Finally, each color center provided a varying level of challenge to figure out the color in the target language (TL). The lesson was not without its improvements though. I learned that all components of an activity need to include a variety of ways to meet a learners needs. For example, some learners need more prompting than to just “play with the center and figure it out”. Therefore, I added a video (with audio) to show how to use the center to accommodate that specific learner. Language barriers are possible challenges for teachers as well. In addressing that particular challenge, I added the ability to perceive the prompt in the students’ native languages as via text and audio. A fairly pivotal barrier I had failed to address in the original lesson was to accommodate students with learning difficulties. Though my text sign was large and visible, it lacked emphasis on keywords, something students with learning difficulties need most. As you can see from the photos below, my sign originally read “¿Qué color es?”, but according to UDL, highlighting keywords may be critical for comprehension for certain learners. Now the sign reads: “¿Qué COLOR es?”.



One other vital addition I made to my lesson plan was the means of data collection. In my original lesson plan I had only included one avenue to organize the color names in the TL. UDL helped me understand the needs of others and that not every student can collect data with only a pencil and paper. Therefore, I included two other options: 1. An audio/video recording device with speech-to-text, and 2. An iPad equipped with speech-to-text, recording capabilities, among other possibilities to accommodate students who may not be able to grasp a pencil. UDL has opened my eyes to how technology has, and continues to meet, the needs of all the “fingerprints” of learners teachers face each day. I have found that combining the repurposing skills practiced throughout this course with the principles of UDL, one will receive, in return, much more effective lessons and teaching skills necessary for 21st century learning.


CAST. (2006, January 6). UDL at a Glance. Retrieved June 22, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4


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