Join Kevin Kelly for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying UDL principles: Sharing content in multiple formats, part of Teaching with Technology.
- In a separate movie, I outlined the basic principles of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL. Now let's dive into more detail for the first principle known as Multiple Means of Representation. In other words, we'll use text strategies to provide course content in multiple formats and support student comprehension. We do this not only to accommodate learners with different learning challenges, but also to support learners with different strengths and interests. Providing content in Multiple Formats means being able to create different types of media such as: Text, graphics, audio, video, or combining some of these to make multimedia.
It's becoming more and more common for teachers to offer multiple formats as they record or find presentations on course topics. For example, for each main e-lecture in my own online class, I provide a screen cast and audio recording, my presentation slide with notes in the notes field, and key media such as charts or graphs. This might sound like a lot of work but it isn't. Screen casts record whatever I do on my laptop along with whatever I'm narrating. That means I can go through a whole presentation, navigate a website, and show how to use a program like Excel, all in the same presentation.
When the recording is done, I can save an audio only MP3 file with no extra work. Some students prefer to listen to that MP3 version when they commute. Similarly, instructors who teach in a classroom can use lecture-capture software to record the lecture they're already going to present. In some cases, instructors just link to recordings on the same topic by trusted sources like Khan Academy or MERLOT. If you want to start on a smaller scale, you can provide multiple formats of specific information. If you have ever made a bar chart or a pie chart then you've already done it.
This may sound simple, but alternate formats can make it easier for students to understand a concept. Plus, they don't have to be boring. Data visualization has become an art as much as a science. If you're not familiar with visualization strategies, you may be familiar with one of the most popular. Infographics are a quick and easy way to share statistics and facts related to your course. There are free tools like Piktochart and Visal.ly that let you make infographics from templates. There are also a few PowerPoint templates to make it easy to create infographics.
The UDL Universe website suggests that we also need to support learners as they try to turn class materials into usable knowledge. You can do this by using advanced organizers. Resources that provide in advance and that help students organize information they'll learn. For example, make a concept map to help students see the connections between expected background knowledge and new information. Another support strategy related to content is scaffolding. For example, you can create a screen cast modeling what you want students to do when they go through an assignment, such as talking through how to solve a sample equation, or how to use context clues to understand difficult reading passages.
Apps like iAnnotate even allow you to do this from an iPad. These UDL strategies help students who have disabilities, but also English language learners, and students who may be struggling in your class. Start with the easiest thing for you to control, your course content. Before reviewing another movie, take a minute to answer the following questions for yourself. Are you providing key information in more than one media format? Are you providing operational definitions for vocabulary, symbols, and scientific notation? And are you supporting student comprehension through connection to background knowledge?
Author Kevin Kelly explains how learning outcomes can be adapted to support technology in the classroom, and guides educators through selecting the appropriate technology for their activity, module, or class. Then he shows how to apply technology in three key areas: finding, creating, and sharing content with students; facilitating classroom activities; and assessing learning inside the classroom or online.
- Including technology in your learning outcomes
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Finding and creating content and instructional materials
- Enhancing lectures and presentations with technology
- Getting students involved
- Facilitating in-class activities
- Assessing learning
- Teaching effectively online