UDL Handbook draft 9-04.doc - A Handbook on Universal...

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Denise C. DeCoste, Ed.D. Montgomery County Public Schools Rockville, MD 20850 1 A Handbook on Universal Design for Learning and Accessible Technology Proactive and Accommodative Instructional Strategies for Today’s Teachers
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A Handbook on Universal Design for Learning and Accessible Technology Proactive and Accommodative Instructional Strategies for Today’s Teachers Teachers and related service providers understand that all learners are not created equal. Teaching methods with degrees of flexibility are necessary to meet the needs of a wide range of learners. Proactive curriculum design is also essential in light of limited resources in education and limited time and energy to create individualized accommodations. While teachers are aware of the pressing need to adapt their instruction, they have little time to plan or implement accommodations to meet the individual needs of the students. There are few guidelines and resources to help teachers with this. Universal design for learning (UDL) anticipates the needs of diverse learners. Like differentiated instruction, UDL is concerned with learning content, learning process, learning products and the learning environment. UDL promotes strategies that allow learning standards to be achieved by students “with wide differences in their abilities to seek, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage and remember (ERIC/OSEP, 1998, p. 1). UDL applied to curriculum standards assists students with diverse learning needs who are expected to achieve general education learning standards, such as students with learning disabilities, slow readers, students with dyslexia, English language learners, students with emotional disturbances, students with attentional deficits, typical students with learning style variations, physically disabled students, students with sensory impairments, students with language impairments, and students with Asperger’s syndrome. Universal design for learning (UDL) anticipates the needs of diverse learners. Creation of the Maryland Technology Literacy Standards for Students (MTLSS) prompted the development of this handbook. These standards were created to help students achieve technological literacy by the 8 th grade. Students who demonstrate technological literacy are able to use technology to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information. Students with disabilities often need to access technology to allow them to participate and make progress in general education. Instructional accommodations that employ assistive technology can help students with disabilities succeed without changing the content or conceptual difficulty of the curriculum. Universal design for learning promotes the use of digital technology because it often offers the flexibility needed to adjust for learner differences.
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