Differentiated Instruction & UDL


Learning Environments for Multiple Learning Styles and Levels

In this activity you will become familiar with the concepts of Differentiated Instruction (DI), Diverse Learning, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  You will also explore and learn about free technology tools to support the needs of all students. These tools will aid in meeting differentiation goals.  As educators, we must be aware of terminology, learning theory, resources available, and tools to differentiate instruction and support diverse learners. 

The first part of this activity will check your understanding of terms, and the second will give you an opportunity to reflect on how you can, or do apply these in your educational setting.

Differentiated Instruction (DI)

Click the link for the Reading Rockets site for a definition of differentiated instruction. Select one or two of the Basics articles. As you read through key elements that guide differentiation, take note of elements you already incorporate in your teaching. Also check out this informative Scholastic article written by Laura Robb where she has listed 9 practices to differentiate instruction.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL is a theoretical framework and is addressed on the National Center for Universal Design for Learning site. You can read more about UDL at the Cast website, and make sure to look at the Additional Resources page for useful tools.

There are three fundamental principles to help you design your teaching and learning environment so all students are successful. These principles can be supported through the use of digital materials.

The three principles are:

  1. Support recognition learning by providing multiple, and flexible methods of presentation
  2. Support strategic learning by providing multiple, and flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship
  3. Support affective learning by providing multiple, and flexible options for engagement

The National Center on UDL summarizes these principals as listed below.  Watch their video (6:37 minute) for further clarification of the three UDL principles.

  1. Multiple means of representation (recognition)
  2. Multiple means of action and expression
  3. Multiple means of engagement

Take note of how these can be used in your learning environment to meet the multiple needs of your learners.

Please take a moment and watch the Connected Educator video below featuring Kit Hard using technology with students to clear the path for all learners (direct link to the video).

Accessibility Features of some common operating systems and browsers:

Speech Recognition Features

Smart phones have a microphone located on the keyboard that translates your speech into text for text messaging and working in documents. Desktops and laptops have speech recognition features to control the interface with your computer.  Here are some resources to help you setup speech recognition.

  • Windows 10 how to setup and use Speech Recognition
  • Speech to Text using the Chrome browser, open a Google doc and go to the Tools menu. Select Voice Typing. Click on the microphone icon that appears in your document, it will turn red showing it is recording. Begin speaking and watch as it types what you say.

Hints for using speech recognition:

When you need a period say "period."
When you need a new line, say "new line."
When you are done, click the microphone icon to turn it off

Free text-to-speech converters

Below are websites that allow you to copy and paste text into them in order to hear the printed text. Some will even allow you to change the voice to be heard in a different language and give you a choice between a male or female voice. These converters are not only beneficial for those with reading difficulties, but are helpful for those who prefer to listen rather than read. They also allow writers to hear one's own pieces (or compositions) to critique for grammatical errors and comprehension.

  • Narrator (Windows 10 on-screen text read aloud)

VozMe     Natural Reader     Balabolka icon (Balabolka)

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