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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Implementation
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UDL in 15 Minutes with Brenny Kummer

A Rubric for 1-to-1 Adoption

Obviously, I am a proponent of Universal Design for Learning. I believe the framework offers the needed guidance to help us think deeply about the supports and services we are providing to all learners. Those supports and services don’t sit within the four walls of a classroom, though. Many times, they begin outside of those four walls and technology is an excellent example of this. This is true in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC). As Brenny stated during the podcast:

…Universal Design for Learning is our instructional framework. And the way that translates to the technology department is that it really guides every decision that we make, from what technology tools we put in the hands of our students, what hardware we mount on the walls, what software we use for assessments and our delivery of online lessons. UDL is really that goal that we’re all in the rowboat towards all of us are rowing towards it together and it’s all guiding us there.

Many times, the technology (e.g., hardware, software, or apps) chosen for a school or a classroom is either identified based on need or through introduction (e.g., someone sees something demonstrated at a conference). But what does your school or district do from there? Here are some typical questions:

  • Does this duplicate something we currently have or use?
  • How many students will this impact?
  • What will the trainings needs be?
  • Is this meeting an immediate need or a systematic need?

When BCSC was adopting 1-to-1 across their secondary schools in 2012, a group including the Director of Technology, two principals, department chairs, teachers, and I went to locations in North Carolina and Texas that began implementing 1-to-1 district-wide several years earlier and were recognized as leaders in that area. We, however, wanted to look at the use of the technology through the instructional lens of UDL. We didn’t want our debriefing sessions to focus on the number of charging stations or whether students were forgetting them in their lockers. We wanted to focus on how access to the devices was improving the experience of learning for all learners, so Bill Jensen, Mike Jamerson, Eva Cagwin and I developed a rubric to focus our observations and conversations. The rubric was provided in three different ways (i.e., multiple representations) to support effective use.

I’ve attached the rubric which is divided into four sections with space for observation notes. The users of the different sections are identified (e.g., teachers, admin, Mike, Loui) because of how the visits were organized.

  • Section I: Classroom use of technology
  • Section II: Scheduled/impromptu conversations with teachers, students, and administration
  • Section III: Conversations about the technology infrastructure
  • Section IV: Conversations about the technology infrastructure

The rubric represents what we felt needed to be in place for full implementation of UDL. We wanted to identify and observe these examples and then process these options and opportunities as a group. You will likely notice that some of our look-fors are pretty intense. For example, an advanced representation on page 4 for: “Going around and underneath: allowing for and encouraging innovation to create change,” is “It is recognized that reforms and head-on interventions do not create change; rather, allowing for and encouraging innovation creates change.” Obviously, this kind of evidence could only come from specific questions to several individuals, but we did our best to collect those voices.

Based on what Brenny shared, you can see that BCSC has advanced in their adoption of technology (i.e., hardware, software, and apps) and the supports they offer to their teachers, but what continues to drive all of their adoption is UDL because they want every learner to become an expert learner.