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#13004247 Jan 20, 2017 at 01:15 PM
4 Posts
I'm not sure if this qualifies, but I really love the DC Comics site.

Throughout my studies in EdTech, I've become intrigued by using comics in the classroom due to how interactive they are and due to the fact that they ask readers to use visual as well as verbal communication skills.

The DC site takes this one step further by adding videos, which bring in the sound element. It also has a place that highlights fan art. UDL embraces the idea that expression doesn't just come in written form. Drawing and making art are also ways that people make sense of the world.

For me as a visual artist, I have found that when I incorporate visuals, I get a bigger response. They send a message that words alone can't. And they speak to people sometimes on a visceral level.

I would definitely use a similar strategy in my posts. I'm already using it in some of the books that I'm publishing. I really love design!
Exploring the rabbit hole...
#13007023 Jan 21, 2017 at 08:15 PM
3 Posts
I chose an example of what I believe is poor UDL. This is a link to an abnormal psychology course from Rutgers. ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY. That should include endless opportunities for truly engaging learning!! Here's the link to the syllabus.

To improve upon this dreadfully boring model of learning, I would use tools similar to what I experienced in one of my classes last semester. In Second Life, I was able to virtually experience what someone with schizophrenia might go through. The quest was designed in such a way I was able to choose different experiences that simulate what someone with schizophrenia struggles to overcome just to function on a daily basis. It was a fascinating and highly disconcerting experience. To be in a situation, even virtually, where you feel like your mind is betraying you, where you are uncertain about what you can count on as reality is an impactful experience. I have read a ton of abnormal psych books (counselor over here!), but nothing had an impact on me like being in the shoes of someone dealing with mental illness in a virtual space. I don't know the struggles of dealing with mental illness, but what I thought was a decent amount of compassion within me for those struggling with mental illness increased exponentially after my SL experience with a schizophrenia quest. THAT was excellent UDL!
#13011859 Jan 23, 2017 at 06:04 PM
1 Post
This is an example of UDL practices. These teachers have made a choice board for projects for social studies work. These choices give the students a variety of methods for illustrating their mastery of curriculum objectives.
#13019240 Jan 26, 2017 at 06:38 PM
3 Posts
I think it's harder to find great examples of UDL in a purely online/asynchronous environment. I think of it as giving students a chance to interact with the content versus it being a static and passive experience.

I was looking specifically for examples from the library world, and I found this interesting tool:

Probably not exactly UDL, but I like how it's interactive.
#13021542 Jan 27, 2017 at 07:13 PM · Edited 3 days ago
4 Posts
Like any good UDL lesson, the lesson that I have included a link to below allows students multiple methods of assessment in order to reach various learning styles. What I especially liked about the lesson is that it addressed what all students would learn but also included what most and some students would also be exposed to. This provides the objectives for each individual performance level. If you get the chance, go check it out! I hope to employ a similar method when I create my lessons. By creating additional quests that the more advanced students will complete, I can provide the stretch for the high performing students without dragging the lower students beyond their ability.
#13021648 Jan 27, 2017 at 08:58 PM
4 Posts
I think that the following lesson plan is a good example of UDL.
Beowulf Lesson Plan
It provides students with multiple ways to review the text and for them to show their understanding of the text. They are all meeting the same learning standard, but have the ability to choose the way in which they present the information.
#13024251 Jan 29, 2017 at 05:03 AM
4 Posts

Codeacademy learn Python course


The course does not provide multiple means of representation. Every lesson is the same: a linear sequence that presents a particular element of functionality.

The course does not use video, audio or images other than a few illustrations. (caveat I've only looked at the free version of the course.) I don't feel anything is missing by not having richer media. This could be personal, as I find nearly all videos tedious and inefficient for learning. But for this course, I can't think of what it would add. The content-centric approach does not highlight critical features' of coding or call attention to the 'big ideas.' So at the points where I wanted to zoom out and see the overview - for which a chart is perfect - the lesson never went there.

It's difficult to be too critical of how the course handles language and symbols. By nature, computer languages require that symbols have exact meaning. The lesson does assume earners know generic CSIT terms (e.g., 'boolean'). Definitions could be hyperlinked which would clarify vocabulary and might promote learning across languages.

The course was obviously written by a rabid Monty Python fan. Learners too young to know that Spam used to be hilarious will find the text in the activities a big WTF.


The means of expression available to the learner are as narrow as the representations of the content. Each activity is based on typing in snippets of code, then having the bot check your work. A learner wanting to start with principles, then move to details would benefit from the option of a more graphical approach. In fairness, this is a coding class for adult learners. But Alice is used to teach intro to programming at uni level and the value that brings would be useful here..

To the extent that deep learning is possible in a course set up this way, the UI and navigation are well-designed to support. It's quite easy to track progress against the lessons. I can imagine that for a learner who enjoys this style of delivery, the site would support goal setting and self-monitoring of progress.

The site appears at first glance to be accessible to assistive devices. The site CSS does not conflict with browser tweaks a user makes (e.g., to contrast ort text size). The deeply nested div structure might make navigation more difficult for a keys-only user or a screenreader.

I quit on this course before the halfway mark. The basic problem for me was the relevance and authenticity of the activities. The 'mini projects' are nothing more than review activities, asking the learner to repeat sequences of tasks learnt earlier in the lesson. This would benefit learners who are comfortable rolling lots and lots of random details up together before worrying about where it's all going.

However, what I know about python isn't from this site. I'd rather start off with a useful, practical idea - even if it's well beyond my current ability - and use code references to fiddle (and make lots of mistakes) until I get there. But for that, I guess I don't really need a learn-to-code website.
My friends call me 'Smeldy'
#13038021 Feb 03, 2017 at 12:56 PM
4 Posts
I thought this Youtube video showed good examples of how to use UDL and backed it up with classroom examples. The panel discussion before and after helped me put the terms in context, rather than just reading what they were about, or seeing a graphical demonstration of it.
#13042889 Feb 05, 2017 at 03:18 PM
4 Posts
Of all of the quests that I've done so far, this one has been the most intimidating. After looking at UDL, it's one of those things that's clearly a great idea, important to do in the classroom, and the kind of thing that makes learning more enriching for the students that are already good at it and accessible for the students that struggle. That being said, it feels like the kind of thing that, 10 seconds into creating an assignment, I'm already in the weeds. What if a kid is ELL, or dyslexic, or has really bad ADD, or isn't able to focus on anything that isn't on a phone screen for more than 5 minutes? Making an assignment that is flexible enough that any student can engage easily with it feels completely overwhelming.

So I spent some time googling, since the Internet always has the answers eventually, and on one of the pages, it was pointed out that even though some principles should always find their way into lessons (clear learning objectives, for instance) it's probably best to focus on aspects of UDL that are important for a specific lesson at first.

With that in mind, I thought of an assignment that my school's World History department does with the French Revolution. Specifically, we give them three different ways to demonstrate that they've learned the content at the end of the unit. They can A) create a PowerPoint presentation, B) Create a fake newspaper, or C) Create a children's book. All of these assignments have to cover certain concepts and events that are taught about the French Revolution, but do it in several different ways. Again, there are large aspects of UDL that this assignment doesn't cover, but the fact that it gives students a wide variety of ways to demonstrate understanding of the French Revolution, in my opinion, makes it a lesson that demonstrates at least one aspect of solid UDL.
#13074419 Feb 18, 2017 at 12:58 PM
4 Posts
I teach High School History (10th grade World History and 12th grade Economics), and I use many of the lessons from the Stanford History Education Group’s (SHEG”S) curriculum “Reading Like a Historian”. I found a really interesting paper on UDL and a lesson from this curriculum. The author developed a rubric for evaluating lessons for the degree of UDL included in the design of the lesson ( ). The rubric is on page 18 of the paper, and could be useful for evaluating or guiding lesson planning.
Anyway, I took a shot at evaluating the lesson discussed in the paper with their rubric. I will admit that the lesson scored lower than I thought it would in both my evaluation and with the group of students who used the rubric in the paper. There was one area where I disagreed with the other evaluators… The scores for the value of the lesson were low, and I think they should be higher. I think the problem comes from looking at this one lesson in isolation. The value, or the reason why the students should want to learn the material, is not clear in any of the lessons on their own, but one must remember that the lesson is part of a program to teach how to “think like a historian.” That’s the real reason to take on the task within this lesson.

How to make this lesson on the Salem Witch Trials more UDL?

Provide Multiple Means of Representation: I think they do a pretty good job here. They give a first hand account of the thinking that (at that time) justified the Witch Trials, a bit of the transcript from the trials, a map, and a chart. These different documents are different means of representation that will open access to more students. They text documents could be helped out with adding a “book on tape” feature where the teacher reads the document as students follow along.
Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression: The goal with this curriculum is to help develop written responses… but I suppose teachers could open the opportunities up for other ways of showing what the student has learned… use of video or audio recording to show what they have learned would also be appropriate.
Provide Multiple Means of Engagement: There is flexibility in how this lesson is used. You can run it as a whole class activity (not particularly UDL), or have students work on it in small groups (more UDL), or even as a quest where the students have much more autonomy to decide how and with whom they work (even more UDL).

The Paper from Bowling Green University, and the rubric in that paper are, I think, worth a look.
#13074902 Feb 18, 2017 at 05:59 PM
1 Post
CAST UDL Lesson Plan Builder

CAST UDL Lesson builder

This is a really great website for teachers who are still new to the UDL pedagogy as it not only provides a great lesson plan (and unit plans) that abide by the UDL guidelines but it offers suggestions as to how it connects to the UDL design.

For this specific lesson plan, it is introducing a middle intermediate group to rocks and their properties dealing specifically with igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The teacher starts with a pre-activity with a thumbs up thumbs down activity, asking very general questions about rocks and having the children determine whether they are true (thumbs up) or false (thumbs down) The teacher could also post these questions so that they children had an opportunity to hear AND see the question. The children are being engaged by physically reacting to each statement.

The actual lesson begins with the teacher introducing the three terms. The terms are broken down using their word morphologies to help the students remember what each term means. The teacher uses different forms of representing this to the students. Visually, auditory and pictorially.

The students are then provided an opportunity to physically handle a set of rocks and use a variety of methods to determine the properties of each rock. These then could be represented again pictorially, visually (with text in a chart) or auditorily. By working in groups, students have to opportunity to practice a variety of methods of learning. If they struggle with the finite physical expectations, a partner would be beneficial to complete these tasks.

There was no independent practice listed here. Some possibilities could have been going home and looking for different types of rocks around their house. Spending 10 minutes during the class to go outside looking for rocks around the school. Finding pictures on the internet of different types of rocks AND comparing it to a map of the country as to where they might be found.

The culminating activity provides the children time to reflect on the learning that occurred in the class period. By having a think pair share, it allows them to generate their own ideas and share out with others.
No questions were listed here but some possible ones could be:
Did anything about the results surprise you?
Are there other tests that we could do that would tell us more about each rock?
Do any of these rocks look familiar? Would we find them around here?
Why would each type of rock weigh differently compared to its size (density)?
If the Aboriginals did use rocks as tools, what types do you think they’d use and why?