So I just pulled some documents off my iPad, from the app I use for writing stuff and taking notes and such. This was from a NCIE Summer Institute presentation on Universal Design. Stuff in brackets is added as I read through this again.
Warning for School type stuff
Warning for School type stuff
Universal design: "I want all students to write because that's what gets assessed on those horrible tests." NO. You want to change those tests. I'm sorry, no, you're talking about universal access, do it for real. Handwritten thank you notes can be an access thing. Not everyone can learn to handwrite. It's just not possible. I got banned from handwriting my math homework in college. I can write by hand, but not well enough for it to be useful for much of anything. [I don't remember if the presenter said the quote uncritically or was criticizing it. I really hope she was criticizing it.]
Weighting assessments based on the strengths of individual students instead of weighting everyone's assessments the same is actually super important.
"Create a performance which answers the essential question." Ok. That's great. Provide greater specificity so that students who need it can have it.
The more universal a design is, the less accommodation and modification is needed for individual students. [I think part of universal design is going to have to be customizability within initial parameters, then.]
We did an activity. Or I watched, anyways. The activity was cognitively inaccessible to me. [I explained why it was and my suggestions on how to make sure I could to it here.] It was to take an object and describe a way that it could be used to teach a language arts lesson. I can't do that. It's too vague. I need to know what kind of language arts lesson I want to teach. Is it storytelling? Is it verbs? Is it reading? I only know these ideas because other people came up with ideas to teach those. How is the object supposed to relate? I need to know what I'm teaching before I can even start on that, but, um, there's a lot of ways objects can relate. I think. I can't think of what they are, which usually means its open ended and I'm freezing up. Or maybe what object am I using? If I know the prior two answers, I think I can get this one. Probably. If I know this answer and the first one, I can probably figure out the middle one. But I need to know exactly what I am trying to teach, and I need one of those other two. Then I can figure out the third. Asking me to create all three from scratch is giving me a cognitively inaccessible activity. Bit ironic in a presentation about universal design.
Cast.org is good. It has universal design materials. [I don't know if it's actually good because I still haven't looked. That was supposed to be a note to myself to look at it, I think.]
Also, I really need to get into universal design stuff, if only to make it accessible to people like me, because seriously the activity used to demonstrate is one I can't do! [The "if only" part is not entirely serious. I do need classroom stuff to be accessible to me, yes, but since most stuff in the classroom is stuff I can do as long as my weird coping stuff is allowed, I'm not actually the one Universal Design for Learning is meant to be helping. So it's not really something I'm doing for me. And yes, my cognitive access needs are real.]