How Universal is UDL, the Universal Design of Learning?

I have been trying to be more intentional about incorporating UDL (Universal Design of Learning) in my classes.  As the mother of a special education student, I can certainly see its appeal.

As a teacher, UDL is kicking my butt.

For those unfamiliar with UDL, it refers “to the design of instructional materials and activities to make the content information accessible to all children.”  It includes multiples means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement.

For my multimedia design class, I usually begin with the final product and discussion.  I then model my approach.  I have also provided a written instruction of the process, and I have made a video tutorial that students can refer to once they begin working independently.  For formative assessment, I ask them to locate tools and summarize the steps as I walk around the room.  When it comes to their own original creations, I provide them with freedom to choose their own subjects and themes as long as they use original images and employ similar tools and techniques.

It’s that last step that stumps me.  I can’t think of another way that they could prove to me that they understand the process without actually employing the process.  I suppose they could describe it in an essay or create an infographic, but neither of those build their portfolios of original work.

I’m not sure how universal UDL is, but I’ll continue to ponder this.

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