Universal Design for Learning:
After this week’s classes, I have learned much more about UDL than I had previously known. I always had a general sense that UDL was planning lessons that suited each child’s needs and learning styles, but now I know that it is much more specific than that. The three categories, representation, expression, and engagement are helpful to keep in mind when lesson planning. From now on, I will try my best to ask myself questions such as, how many different ways can I present this information to my students? How can I provide different ways for students to express their learning? What choices can I proved to further engage my students? Watching the video of UDL applied in an actual classroom really helped me to see how to successfully incorporate this design and how to meet the needs of all students by providing lots of choice. To really implement UDL, the teacher needs to know the different learning styles of his or her students very well, and I presume incorporating UDL into each lesson will take a lot of practice, but in a classroom full of students with diverse needs and learning styles, and possibly varying disabilities, it can only be beneficial for the class as a whole.
I have always known that assistive technologies existed, but I did not know about the wide variety of tools available to support people with all kinds of disabilities. From my tool evaluation presentation and my investigation of assistive communication technologies, I have learned how beneficial and supportive these tools can be for students with language disabilities or other disabilities that make speaking difficult. Technologies such as Word Talk, Verbally, and more allow students to express their feelings and needs through the touch of a button. These kinds of tools are really important because if a child cannot physically express their thoughts or feelings through speech, they will most likely get frustrated and have behavioral issues, which will make getting work accomplished difficult. Through the use of different apps and tools, the student with a disability is easily able to say what they need and want to say, which will ultimately make learning easier for them. I am excited to hear about other assistive technologies in our collaborative presentation on Friday!