The Universal Design for Learning article that I looked into was written by Rogers-Shaw, Carr-Chellman, and Choi. The article discusses how UDL works with adult learning. It also places a large emphasis on creating things more accessible and easier for all students, and not just making accomodations or adjustments to a lesson when a problem arises. This is shown through the quote “important element in applying UDL is that it begins with course design.” (Rogers-Shaw, p. 27) This design is focused mainly on helping teachers communication and engagement of students, which tend to go hand in hand. Without clear, understandable, and accessible communication, students will not be able to engage in an assignment or activity and their learning will be hindered because of that.
The article discussed a number of areas that teachers dealt with in terms of communication. This included speeches, videos, and exams among other ways that teachers communicate and interact with their students. The article also details things as seemingly insignificant as text. Text can be a hinderance to certain groups of students, if it is not large enough or presented in certain ways, some more visually challenged or impaired students. Also, including some form of text reader that students could utilize, but also even visual representations when possible to do so. These graphics captivate and engage more easily than text typically will. The main theme the article hits at is that there needs to be some variety of methods so all or almost all students can be engaged through one of these. Rogers-Shaw describes this on page 27 when Mace’s first principle of design is mentioned as “providing accessibility to individuals with varied abilities as the need for accommodating assistive devices.”
The lesson that I am using for my final project is an election that I am having students help to create and then ultimately vote in. This is something that relates to the Universal Design for Learning artcile I chose because it mentions “there is a focus on learning relevance, value, and authenticity in terms of learners’ needs and desires through the inclusion of real-life tasks and an understanding of the importance of flexibility.” (Rogers-Shaw, p. 21) The lesson that I am giving students relates to those “real-life tasks” that are mentioned. The lesson meets Oklahoma Academic Standards but also fits in at an especially relevant time as it coincides with the national midterm elections that just took place and still has voted being counted on.
One thing that I need to do with this lesson is make sure that it is accessible to every student. That is one way that the google form is helpful for doing, as opposed to just creating a typical paper ballot. The google form is helpful as students are able to change the font size by zooming in on their chromebooks to better view the ballot. I had twin sisters last year who had vision impairments,s o every assignment had to be enlarged for them and technology made this a lot simpler as they had larger chromebooks with larger default zoom settings to accomodate them. After reading this, next year I am going to add in pictures of certain ballot choices (when we vote on candy, I would have pictures of the different bars.) I did this a little last year when I showed students advertisements from both Sour Patch Kids and Reese’s in our general election of candy.
Rogers-Shaw, C., Carr-Chellman, D. d., & Choi, J. (2018). Universal Design for Learning: Guidelines for Accessible Online Instruction. Adult Learning, 29(1), 20-31.