Growing diversity in today's classrooms increases the need for teachers to individualize instruction. At the same time, heightened concern about student achievement mandates that teachers meet specific local, state, and national standards. These two factors, learning standards and student diversity, seem to pose conflicting priorities. How can teachers set goals that address standards while supporting the unique propensities of each learner? The key is to design a goal that represents the true purpose of the learning activity. This sounds obvious but actually many goals are stated in a way that confuses means and ends.
The key to helping all students achieve is identifying and removing barriers from our teaching methods and curriculum materials. One effective way to do this is to expand your teaching toolbox with digital media and software. To accommodate a broad spectrum of learners, universally designed curricula require a range of options for accessing, using, and engaging with learning materials.
What is Universal Design for Learning? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching, learning, curriculum development and assessment that uses new technologies to respond to a variety of individual learner differences. IDEA 2004 defines Universal design using the same definition as the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 3002.(