Keeping Design in Mind

One thing has been made clear in these first few days of my Masters program: The education world is acronym obsessed.

After a day full of TPACK, we moved straight into UDL, or Universal Design for Learning. For those out there who haven’t spent the last five years in an intensive teacher preparation program, the Universal Design for Learning takes Differentiated Instruction and makes it more manageable for every day use. Before entering my internship last year, Differentiated Instruction seemed impossible for a new teacher to implement, let alone an experienced one. It suggested that several different versions of a lesson plan needed to be implemented each day.

Credit: Nathan A. Stevenson, Ph.D
Credit: Nathan A. Stevenson, Ph.d

I think most teachers would agree, Differentiated Instruction wasn’t a realistic goal. The Universal Design for Learning, as seen in the figure on the left, takes the approach of a tiered system. Simply put, there are three tiers, where interventions get more intensive/extensive with each successive tier.

Tier 1 learning is something that all students can and would benefit from. In teacher talk, tier 1 is your scaffolding for any lesson. Tier 2 goes one step further, and again could work for all learners, but will specifically target struggling learners. Tier 3 will only apply to certain students who need additional accommodations or interventions.

In a lesson on reading comprehension, Tier 1 might be students might engage in a guided reading with questions weaved throughout the text. Tier 2 might involve eliminating the questions, and instead creating a graphic organizer to collect their thoughts. Tier 3 might involve additional chunking for students who struggle reading large blocks of text and answering questions, it could also include bolding key words, or having an audio component where they could listen to the reading on a device.

Yesterday, I revised my Lesson Plan 1 with TPACK framework in mind. Today, I am building a revision plan with UDL framework in mind. To see step one of my revision process, click HERE.

Credit to:

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

UDL v. Diff Learning Graphic: Nathan A. Stevenson, Ph.d

Word Cloud is mine.

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