UDL and Technology

Our key learnings this week in CEP 810 revolve around how to integrate technology into the classroom and what technologies to integrate. Our objective was to write a lesson plan that expected students to design, create, inquire, problem-solve and/or evaluate in some meaningful way associated with my curriculum and to integrate at least one digital technology into that lesson. 

In our readings, we learn that Thomas and Brown (2011) believe that as a result of the inevitable changes that are occurring in our learning structures due to the information overload, students need to learn to locate information and express their learning in multiple contexts.  Hobbs (2011) takes digital literacy a step further by detailing 5 competencies ranging from Access, the ability to locate information and share it with multiple audiences, to Action, the ability to collaborate with others to solve problems at a world-wide level.  As a teacher librarian, these skill sets are at the core of my curriculum.

My district is in the process of implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  UDL is a framework that implements flexible learning environments to accommodate student differences.  At the center of UDL is strengthening Tier 1 core instruction so that students are not pulled out, but are supported in their classrooms.  For this reason, my lesson plan is based on the UDL model of providing students with multiple Means of Representation, Multiple Means of Engagement and Multiple Means of Expression.  As such the technology tool I am integrating is not the centerpiece of the lesson, but rather one of the choices that students may make.

This lesson comes in the middle of a research project with my second grade students.  We have spent our time to this point gathering resources and taking notes.  We are just beginning to organize our information.  Research is still a new skill for these students, so the classroom teacher and I are scaffolding the writing process by having students make mind maps of the information they have collected.  As a lesson introduction, we will be reviewing main idea and supporting details.  We will then practice making mind maps using a variety of tools ranging from pre-made templates to the LucidChart app in Chrome. Students will then be able to choose the format that they are most comfortable using – template, free form poster with Post-its, or LucidChart – to complete the map of their information. I chose the LucidChart Chrome app as my technology piece for this lesson because it is free and integrates with GoogleDocs.  In the end I also included VoiceNote, a speech to text app that also integrates with Chrome for those students who have difficulty with getting their thoughts down on paper. 

Thank you for reading and I welcome any feedback.

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

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