Universal Design for Learning: Technology and Pedagogy

By King-Sears, Margaret | Learning Disability Quarterly, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Universal Design for Learning: Technology and Pedagogy


King-Sears, Margaret, Learning Disability Quarterly


When educators hear the term universal design for learning (UDL), most associate it with technology (cf. Zascavage & Winterman, 2009). However, UDL is not solely about the use of technology in education (KingSears, 2001; Orkwis & McLane, 1998; Rose & Meyer, 2000). UDL is also about the pedagogy, or instructional practices, used for students with and without disabilities.

The concept of universal design, which originated in the field of architecture in the 1970s by Ron Mace (Center for Universal Design, 1997), continues to have a major influence, particularly reflected in building structures that are now required to incorporate features (e.g., ramps, doorway widths) that enable more people with different needs to access buildings without the need to retrofit structural details (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 1991). The main feature of universally designed buildings and products (whether a business or a home) is that they allow people with unique needs to independently and immediately use them "as is." Some of these features are structural (door handles instead of door knobs); others are technological (such as closed captions on television sets).

Within universal design, seven guiding principles drive the design of products and environments so that they are usable by more people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (Connell et al., 1997). When educators employ these principles in the design and delivery of instruction, accommodations noted on individualized education programs (IEPs) for students with learning disabilities (LD) may more naturally occur in general education classrooms.

As applied to the educational needs of students with LD, these principles are played out in both technological and pedagogical ways. The seven guiding principles originally identified for universal design are equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort, and size and space for approach and use (Connell et al., 1997). The principles are sometimes overlapping in function, as noted in the following examples.

One principle, flexibility in use, is evident when teachers design instruction that accommodates a wide range of students' preferences and abilities. For example, when the instructional goal is for students to measure the perimeter of quadrilaterals, teachers can use concrete and virtual manipulative demonstrations to show the different types of quadrilaterals with corresponding formulas. The concrete and virtual manipulative demonstrations are flexible because they provide students choices in learning, and these choices also accommodate students' needs when learning the content. However, it is not simply the use of concrete or virtual manipulatives that conveys information to students with and without LD. How teachers verbally explain the math content, concepts, and rules, that is, the pedagogy that is used, can either clarify or confuse learners. For this example, the pairing of the virtual manipulative technology with the way teachers instruct has the potential to increase the number of learners, regardless of ability, who can more quickly learn how to measure the perimeter of quadrilaterals.

Equitable use of instructional materials can be achieved via technology, such as digital texts for students with LD. However, when the instructional material is a textbook that is not well designed in terms of how its content is organized, depicted, and sequenced, pedagogical features that increase the content's accessibility for many learners become the focus. For example, researchers who have analyzed textbooks found the content difficult to comprehend, laden with minimally related facts and information (cf. Jitendra, Deatline-Buchman, & Sczesniak, 2005; Jitendra et al., 2001; van Garderen, 2006). Taking a UDL approach to textbook usage, these weakly designed features are redesigned before instruction is delivered, so that key facts are targeted and relationships among them are determined. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Universal Design for Learning: Technology and Pedagogy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.