As education has transformed, the challenge of using technology, especially assistive technologies in conjunction with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts has become more complex. But what does that all mean? UDL has three primary components; there must be multiple means of representation, action and expression and engagement. While uncovering this framework, we wanted to better understand how to use it while ensuring all students’ needs are met. Additionally, we wanted to explore how assistive technology can come along side UDL to enrich learning for all learners in our classrooms.
We hosted a webinar on YouTube Live on Wednesday, August 9
While having our conversations using Google Hangout and the twitter hashtags, #MAETBridge #AstTechUDL, we learned a lot and had great conversation with our four guests.
- Marnie Diem – Coordinator of Technological Adventures at Hillel Day School
- Mike Ryan- Research Associate at Georgia Tech in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC)
- Randy Brookins- 4th grade teacher with experiences at Children’s Healthcare of atlanta, and resource at elementary , middle and high school levels
- Stephen Blosser- Assistive Technology Specialist at MSU
We discussed the framework of UDL and different types of assistive technologies. Low tech versus high tech was something discussed a lot. Our experts mentioned that there are many applications now that students can use to aide in their learning. However, one of our experts mentioned how important it is to teach our students which aide works best for their learning. Allow students to play with different tools, but ensure they realize that the ‘fun’ one might not work best for them. As teachers, we must also get to know our students both academically and personally to ensure they are engaged while learning.
Our last statement from Marnie Diem was that we should not use technology just to use technology, we need to use it with a purpose so it aides in learning.
Participating and hosting a webinar was new to all of us, but it was a great experience and we learned new tools and ways to implement UDL and utilize assistive technologies that best fit our students.
Hosted by Jocelyn Paez, Earl Whittemore and Emily Sherbin (MAET students)
Specifically for CEP 815