Scenario Three

Scenario 3: Persuade administration and general education teachers to use UDL in their classroom

Dear Administrator,

The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that benefits all students by giving them equal opportunities to learn. The main idea of UDL is to create your course so that it works for all of your students. This means creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that are flexible and can be customized and adjusted to a student’s individual needs. Here’s a helpful video that will introduce you to the ideas behind UDL:

You may ask, why is UDL necessary? UDL in the classroom is necessary because everyone learns in different ways. Each student brings a variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning, and it’s important that the teacher shapes their instruction around the way the student learns. Some students may be having troubles with the curriculum or difficulty with understanding the material in the classroom. Some of this can be attributed to the ways that general educators are teaching their lessons, or the learning style of different students. Many students have trouble reading which leads to problems in all other subjects such as understanding concepts in science or social studies. Other challenges may result from learning disabilities that underlie difficulties in achievement. UDL should be a guide to learning in the classroom and a supplement to the general curriculum. The curriculum should still be followed with accommodations for students that are tailored to their unique needs.

Overall, UDL should be implemented in all classrooms with the use of differentiated instruction. Every individual is a unique learner and should have access to be taught the way that best suits them. Since this idea is originated from architecture structures, the goal is that all places are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Stemming from that, architects found that these different constructions, such as automatic doors, were utilized by other people including moms with wheelchairs or people carrying a lot of groceries (Billingsley, p. 192). The goal of this entire system is to reach and engage students in multiple ways.

Ideally in a classroom, this would include different supports for various subjects. A student may need assistive technology to something as little as a pencil grip, or even to the extent of a talker. For math, there could be different visual representations like blocks, paper sheets, or counters. By providing ways for students to learn through different concrete objects, they may understand topics better. Just as a type of AT may be a pencil grip, some students may need powerpoint slides printed out for them or a picture schedule on their desk. There would need to be clear expectations set in the classroom that if one student may need headphones to concentrate on writing, it doesn’t mean everyone does. One of the biggest principles could be “fair doesn’t mean equal, but fair is giving everyone the support they need.” Some other instructional technologies may include using resources from the internet to supplement textbooks such as interactive websites for learning about earth concepts through Google Earth (Billingsley, p. 191).

While this is just an outline of a few supports that can be used in a classroom, there are definitely barriers to implementing these. Depending on the funds of a district, iPads may not be available for those who need time without school work and debriefing by listening to music or working on a simple activity. Some students that need sensory breaks may utilize a separate sensory room where it is quiet, but the design of all buildings do not allow for this. Teachers may not be willing to implement this or think there is not time, but it is accessible for all and will help in your classroom where you can teach to the best of your knowledge. There will always be challenges of implementing change, but by adapting that to the best of your abilities and providing alternate supports for students, UDL is possible for all educators. Any of these can be addressed through team planning or getting help from the administration team, applying for grants for different technology, and using the resources that are provided in the building.

So what does UDL look like in the classroom? Let me give you a few examples:


  1. Michael, a fourth grader who has ADD, is starting to fall behind in his math class.  Under the principles of UDL, the teacher could accommodate Michael by giving him a worksheet that lists out what is going on in class.  This would help Michael regroup with the classroom if he spaces off during class.  If Michael has attention problems because he’s not interested in the textbook, the teacher could possibly supply him with interactive iPad textbook to spark his interest.
  2. Juan, a fifth grader, has problems when the class is being lectured to.  He constantly finds himself daydreaming and looking at his phone.  It’s not that Juan isn’t interested in the topic, there is just nothing going on the class that captures his attention.  The teacher could follow the principles of UDL by finding out what student needs to succeed.  In this case, Juan is a visual learner, so the teacher might need to incorporate pictures or short videos into the class lesson to keep Juan alongside his peers.
  3. Christopher, a 2nd grader with ADD, can’t learn from textbooks.  He has a one-on-one aide who sits with him for hours trying to read the textbook with him, but he loses focus and he is starting to fall behind his grade level.  To help Christopher succeed, the teacher could incorporate different types of activities in between reading the textbook.  For example, the teacher could find apps that support reading on the iPad or use a concrete board game that works on beginner reading skills.  Christopher could be rewarded by watching fun, educational videos on the computer or by playing educational games on the computer.  Changing the lesson from reading a boring textbook to playing educational games keeps Christopher interested and it helps him reach his grade-level academic requirements.

As it is demonstrated in this paper, there are definitely ways to implement the Universal Design of Learning in all classrooms. It does not necessarily have to be a big change, but more of ways that students can work best to suit their learning needs in an environment where they can be most successful. If you want your students to achieve in the best way they possibly can, why not follow this plan?

Billingsley, B., & Brownell, M. (2013). Universal Design for Technology and Learning. In A survival guide for new special educators.

Created by:

Greg Knapp

Megan Simpson

Riannon Szofer 


Scenario One

Scenario 1: Create elevator speeches on the importance of educational technology

As you can tell from our elevator videos, we are advocates for technology use in the classroom. We believe that if we do not incorporate technology we are cheating our students from the future. The world is changing, how we teach is changing and as teachers we need to realize this and give students the tools they need to be successful in the real world. By the time our students graduate most jobs will be highly technology based, and if we withhold the opportunities to teach our students this, they will be behind in the real world. Some teachers may be hesitant to incorporate technology because they feel it is taking away from traditional learning, and in a way it is. Learning is going from a tradition, instruction based learning to a more open minded, creative and collaboration based way, which is how the real world is set up. Why not let students create a presentation, an app, a video or an online graphic organizer to show what they learned when presenting a project as opposed to just writing a paper. Although we don’t know what technology is going to be like ten years from now, we do know that by incorporating technology and teaching students to be adaptive to changes that are presented is a good basis for the future. Technology also allows the world to become much smaller. For example I could simply tweet out my video project and all my friends can see by the click of a button. Not only is this a great way to share things you’re passionate about, but we also talked about in class that when students know their work will be shown to more than just their teacher, they tend to try a little harder. Over all, our world is changing and as teachers we need to adapt with it and help our students learn and adapt to it as well.

Created by:

Greg Knapp

Megan Simpson

Riannon Szofer 

Scenario Two

Scenario 2: Provide a meaningful response about the uses and concerns of technology in the classroom. 

Even though there may be concerns about the use of technology in the classroom, it is necessary to incorporate it into the daily lives of students in order to prepare them for the 21st century. One of the first reasons the article talks about is that rapid brain development occurs for students up until age 21, and the use of constant technology can can lead to trouble with self-regular or executive functioning. One way we can bust this myth is by monitoring the use of technology that young children are using to learn. Even though it may seem that television and iPads are not helpful for students, in reality, there are many interactive apps that teach students their alphabet or work on basic math facts. Some common guidelines to use could be that children should not use technology for more than 30 minutes at a time at such a young age and be there to supervise when children are using technological devices. This website gives tech guidelines for parents and the amount of technology students should be learning. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than 2 hours a day for technology and certain times of the day should not be used such as after homework.

Another point the article brings up is delayed development in students because of restrictive movement. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, monitoring the use of technology is beneficial as well as incorporating different uses of movement. There are interactive games out there that rely on technology such as Just Dance. Technology can be used as a supplement in the classroom of even a reward for participating in a certain way or earning a high score. One way to explain this to parents and educators is that we are in a digital age, and incorporating technology in students’ lives is important, even from a young age so children are able to access different means of technology. The ISTE Standards give more insight on this concept. If we teach students ways to be collaborative when they are younger, this can help in the classroom and with their overall development. Another skills students can learn is critical thinking which would help combat the idea of delayed development. By proving students with ways to really dig into information, they are expanding their brain as well.

Following this point, obesity is definitely an issue, but it cannot only be attributed to the use of technology. This trend has been growing and is affected by other factors like fast food. One way to encourage parents that technology is acceptable to use, is by introducing them to games in Just Dance or Xbox Kinect. We cannot only rely on this for active movement, but use it as a supplement when it is raining outside or in the winter. There are also interactive exercise machines that can be utilized.

In regards to sleep deprivation, this goes back to monitoring technology and allowing students to learn responsibility. If technology is introduced at a young age, students may have more time to adapt to the uses of it. Within the digital age, students need to be able to have a sense of the use of technology, and parents can teach about digital citizenship through these means. By going over the basics of digital responsibility and digital access, students are well equipped to be responsible with their different uses. Here is an article that talks more about what digital citizenship is and some child-friendly resources to help explain to children.  This video shows internet safety for students. This can be used in conjunction with the guidelines from the American Association of Pediatrics by not allowing students to use technology an hour before bed time and only recreationally after all homework has been completed.

While mental illness seems like a very daunting issue, we really have to go back to the centralized idea of limiting the use of technology and monitoring out students. There are numerous ways this can actually help students be social like connecting with individuals outside of the country or learning more about different cultures.

When the idea of aggression is brought about, we again have to think about teaching students responsibility and monitoring their use of different games and the internet. At a young age, there needs to be some censorship in a home in regards to the type of television shows that are watched or certain sites blocked for being violent. There are different internet securities provided such as the programs from the Family Safety Website. At some times, students will be modern citizens and learn from mistakes of using websites that are not necessarily okay for them to use, but this goes along with a changing world and being able to have some digital citizenship and responsibility.

Digital dementia can be combatted by limiting the use of technology in the classroom and at home. For educators, this may mean having certain days where students use the computer lab or iPads for different projects. Parents may need to monitor the types of games their kids are playing or different strategies and offer alternatives to just using technology. While technology may not need to be introduced until an age such as 2 or 3, we have to keep in mind that it is important for learning new literacies or conveying ideas in a different way.

While these are only a few of the concerns brought about by the use of technology, we need to continue to be responsible in order to use it and teach our children how to use technology in an acceptable way. Since the 21st century will be a time of change and constant introductions to society, we need to be able to expand on the use of technology with our students by also working on monitoring the use. Digital citizenship is a huge issue since the internet is being widely used in schools and students should be able to navigate through different resources over time.

In the Huffington Post Article there are many ways that technology seems negative, but the overall underlying message is monitoring the use of technology and working on responsible ways to use the internet, it is really a positive and necessary thing for children to be learning. For example, parents can block different television shows so their children are not learning violent behaviors that they would use in everyday life. Teachers may be using the internet for new literacies such as allowing student stop create projects based on poerpoints, videos, or graphic organizers. Technology will constantly benefit students in this changing society and we need to work on improving the use from a very young age.

Completed by:

Greg Knapp

Megan Simpson

Riannon Szofer 

Interactive Classroom Collaboration

The blog post that I was interested in this week I found at this site which is from emerging ed tech. What I found most interesting about this is that there are so many free resources for teachers to know and utilize in their classroom. A Gates foundation found that teachers do want interactive tools to use in their classroom. Obviously this falls under the realm of different types of technology being utilized in the classroom and always adapting to change. If we want to succeed as educators, it is best to stay up to date with changes and provide our students with the materials they need to be successful in the world.

I discovered a free of these resources and looked further into them in order to understand why these are beneficial for teachers. One of them I chose is Vyew which is an interactive white board. This is similar to padlet which we use in class, and students can upload documents as well as images into this. I like this since it can be essential for visual collaboration in a class and really help student work together in groups. Caccoo is another resource that creates flow charts and diagrams for a project or whatever material. I think this would be cool in the essence of a classroom where students can work on some research together and collaborate their ideas.

Wiggio is one last resource I looked into which has a lot of benefits. This includes ways to file share, create polls, manage to-do lists, and update calendars. I feel that this is a really good tool for organization that educators can use in their classroom. The polls can be interactive as well. There are even more resources out there for teachers, but I feel like looking into these is really beneficial in order for teachers to incorporate technology in a positive way.

Keep on Tweetin’

This first tweet discusses how Twitter can actually impact Common Core. I think this is a relevant issue since we talk so heavily about twitter in class and also the effects it can have in a classroom. Social media is another way for students to have a dialogue or debate, and I think this article does a good job bringing that up, especially with such a sensitive issue in special education. Another thing is the Common Core really allows for these discussions to happen in social media. While it is a controversial issue for many educators, it will still change over time as the impact of technology affects schools each and every day.

The Universal Design of Learning is a hot topic in education and this tweet specifically talks about that. By using multiple forms of assessment and making sure instruction is rich, we are helping students with learning disabilities. I think this article can really pertain to any educator since we want to meet all of the needs of the students in our classroom. It’s important to remember than implementation of any curriculum happens over time, and to introduce it according to students’ needs.

This article talks about different tools to use in a classroom in regards to presentations. What I liked most about this is that is really goes with the framework of the Universal Design of Learning and giving students multiple ways to express their ideas. Yes, posters are important and research projects are essential, but this changes the way students may look at it and makes it a little more exiting. One of my favorite tools listed is Glogster which I used in high school. I think it’s important for educators to be aware of free resources on the web that are interactive and beneficial for students.

Tweetin’ and Bloggin’

This first article talks about how teachers need to be enthusiastic with technology. Their perception of it in the classroom can either benefit or take away from the experiences students will have in the classroom. It’s important to come up with interactive activities that are creative and allow students to learn a passion for using technology. Technology can be used across subjects, even into art and social studies, it is just finding a relevant way to connect the information.

This next tweet talks about different tools that teachers can use an an organization tool. I personally liked this article because I felt it can be beneficial for teachers to know this information and pass it along to their students. One of the examples is Pinterest. If teachers can find free resources to incorporate different ideas about technology into their classroom, it can really benefit those learning. Another resources is edu clipper with helps teachers organize their digital learning content.

I also really liked this article from Educatorstechnology for formative assessments in education. With the change in Common Core and my personal belief in assessing students not only for grades, these tools help educators gauge an understanding of what students are learning and how they’re taking in the knowledge. Some of these include polls and iClickers. I really like the idea of different methods used due to the push of Universal Design of Learning and having different ways for students to present their knowledge with multiple means of expression.
This blog is dedicated to Emerging Students & Enhancing Learning using technology. This post really focuses on what you should and shouldn’t do with technology in the classroom. I think it’s important to realize that there really are professional development lessons in using technology in the right way to benefit students and incorporate the best practices in a classroom. For example, one of the sub-headings are about project based learning. I find it interesting that it is important to give students real-world projects in order to learn how to work in the real word. By having projects that are applicable to real life, students will be even more prepared to work in the 21st century.

There are also various articles that are linked in this post in order to give teachers more resources to use. For example, What Project-Based Learning Is — and What It Isn’t, , is a link to another blog post to give teachers ideas of how to run their classrooms. Another section I enjoy about this is Flipping the Classroom which reminds me of our Sped 312 class. It’s important to have those methods down and actually doing it the right way in order for students to benefit. There are also precautions to take when using social media in the classroom, and being aware of the safety of your students is important. I think it’s important to read this to understand some of the practices to avoid in the classroom.

Why should we teach with technology?

This first tweet relates us to an article about how educators need to adapt in the area of technology and increasing advancement. I think this is really beneficial for teachers because education has never really been considered a highly technical field, but due to the changes in society, we need to better prepare our students to be ready for the future they have ahead of themselves. It’s important for teachers to have a well-developsd skill set when entering the classroom to be prepared to engage their students. Technology can really only enhance the learning going on in the classroom, and we need to be ready to dish out what those benefits are and how we can continue to model our classroom for 21st century learners. Here’s also a useful graphic for teachers on how to use tech tools for teaching, which could be posted in their room as a reminder:

This next article digs into why technology is important to use in the classroom, and the concise list hits on benefits for teachers and what they can incorporate in their classroom. I think this article is organized well so that teachers can use the strategies to enhance their teaching strategies. For example, technology has changed in a way we never could have predicted in the past, so thinking about effective parent-teacher communication using technology is a benefit that never would have existed a few decades ago. Parents can send emails back and forth on a daily basis or even interactive observations of students that parents can utilize how their child is doing in school. I think these suggestions offer a way for teachers to understand the importance of technology in the classroom.

This final article goes through separate categories on how technology benefits the classroom such as student engagement, creating new learning environments, and improving teaching in general. I feel that this is beneficial for educators to read since the categories really explain the importance of technology in different domains of the classroom. For example, there are new active roles in students who are exposed to technology and one could be a blogger. As we are doing in this class, sharing thoughts and pulling together media is an essential skill to have with the 21st century of technology shaping our everyday lives. By educating these students on different roles they can have in the classroom and the working environment, we are really preparing students for the future lives they will be leading.