Week # 15- UD and Other Learning Theories or Approaches

UDL and Other Learning Theories or Approaches


Differentiation as a teaching theory is designed to address the needs of diverse learners. It aims at facilitating students’ accessibility to the general education curriculum. This approach assists teachers to design ways to provide multiple approaches to content, process and product demands through “retrofitting” and differentiating instruction. Differentiating instruction is greatly based on three key elements. These are students’ readiness, interest and learning profile “student’s learning style and preferences, interests and intelligences”. Individualizing adaptations and accommodations on the three components:

 a) Content: what the student need to learn or how the student will get access to the   information.

b) Process: activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content.

 c) Product: Concluding projects that ask the student to practice, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit.  .

So, differentiated instruction is a process to approach teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class. The intent is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is . . . rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum. (Hall, 2002)

Across the literature, experts (Anderson, 2007; Rock, Gregg, Ellis, & Gable, 2008; Tomlinson, 2000) suggest these guiding principles to support differentiated classroom practices:

  • Focus on the essential ideas and skills of the content area, eliminating additional tasks and activities.
  • Respond to individual student differences (such as learning style, prior knowledge, interests, and level of engagement).
  • Group students flexibly by shared interest, topic, or ability.
  • Integrate ongoing and meaningful assessments with instruction.
  • Continually assess; reflect; and adjust content, process, and product to meet student needs.

Universal Design for Learning is used to refer to the creation of differentiated Learning experiences that minimize the need for modifications for particular circumstances or individuals. (Mayer&Rose, 2002; Udvari-Solner, 1996).

UDL is based on three principles for adaptable curricula. These are:

a)       To support recognition learning, provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation.

b)       To support strategic learning, provide multiple and flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship.

c)       To support affective learning, provide multiple and flexible options for engagement.

If these principles are incorporated in the curriculum design then in fact that will automatically lead to differentiation of instruction on the three access designing points:




Principle 1: Support recognition learning, provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation. Content: multilevel material, multisensory& varied in form

multilevel goals.

Principle 2: support strategic learning, provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation. Product: multilevel, authentic, performance assessments
Principle 3: Support effective learning, provide multiple and flexible options for engagement Process: instructional format, instructional arrangements, instructional strategies, social/physical environment, co-teaching approaches.


In fact, the two approaches are very compatible and share the same essential goal of helping all students, including those with disabilities, learn to high standards. They emphasize many of the same practical aims (Hall, Strangman & Meyer, 2003)

 However, the main and salient difference between UDL and Differentiation is that UDL is done from the beginning for all students thus, the tools and methods of differentiation are built right into the curriculum which save teachers’ time and energy while differentiated instruction is done in response to learner needs or preferences as they are identified during instruction. DI as a method focuses on the individual’s weaknesses and deficits while UDL approach is more interested in defining students’ strengths.

Using universal design learning provides a conceptual framework that may include differentiating complex content to be acquired and used based on learning systems, approaches and styles, and multiple intelligences, as well as varying cognitive, physical, sensory, motivational, cultural, gender, and language ability levels (Gardner, 1993, 1999; Given, 2002; Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2004).

From what I have examined while learning about the two approaches, I came to a conclusion that both approaches are not necessarily standing on different ends of the line. On the contrary, I believe that UDL is like an umbrella that DI comes under. UDL is a framework that shifts the burden from the educators and learners to place it on the curricular that should be flexible to respond to diverse learners needs, level the playfield for all and designed to decrease barriers to accessibility so leveling the playfield for all learners without imposing one pathway to learning and teaching and without having to rely completely on teachers to make modifications.

But a question will be still asked; when a curricular is universally designed and when instruction is delivered by the most effective teachers, how many students will still need further accommodations or modifications?


  1. Differentiated Instruction with UDL | National Center on Accessible 


2. learning revolution – UDL and Differentiation in E-Learning






Rflection Papaer-Week # 13 Sound and Speech

Reflection Paper: Sound and Speech

Week Thirteen


The heated debate around power point presentation between Doumont and Tufte raised many questions in my head related to the effectiveness of the most popular presentation tool nowadays. Apart from my personal point of view, I really liked Doumont’s approach in tackling this controversial issue with great objectivity admitting shortcomings before expressing admiration of this new tool.

From my little experience in creating or attending power point presentations, I can claim that a considerable number of presenters are abusing this tool instead of using it. I think power point slides can lend themselves perfectly when the purpose of the topic is so wide and the presenter wants his audience to easily track what he has to say from just looking at concise statements that can stick in their minds. However, some of these slides are so crowded so losing their goal and cause distraction to the audiences. What I want to say that there is no right or wrong opinion here.  As the deficiency is usually in the tool itself but in the way it is used.  So, there is always right or wrong for each specific case.

Ebert lecture was very impressive. I share him his feeling  of identity lose when he listens to his new  created voice and can’t feel it is him speaking. However, he sees himself fortunate to have all this new social media technology working on his favor. Using these technologies enabled him to have equal communication level with everyone.   His great ability to adapt has really inspired many people who went through difficult moments in their lives.

Kliewer and Bikler’s Article about “Enacting Literacy” has brought to surface very important points about the necessity of paying attention to the dimension of local understanding by the education policy makers and how important it is to broaden the concept of literacy so it doesn’t only include the traditional ways of how reading and writing are measured to have a broader range of practices. These practices focus on potentialities and not deficits and also focus on responsive literate context that is meaningful and relates to students’ experiences. They also argued against the idea of segregated classrooms where students with significant intellectual disabilities as studies indicate, usually show lower academic and social expectation in contrast to expectations for matched peers in inclusive schooling.  As literacy development takes place at multiple levels, incorporating strategies appropriate for all children becomes a necessity. The authors’ point which I really believe in its effectiveness is applying solutions that come from bottom to top and not from top to bottom as is usually the case with educational policies. This is because the school community is more able to realize the child’s immediate competence as a literate citizen and is more able to imagine his growing in literate sophistication.


week 3 11 / Technology Lab:Online videos

Regarding online videos “youtube and vimeo” I consider myself as a novice. As for youtube, I ve never created or posted one but I usually watch and sometimes use what others posted in my lessons as an extra explanatory tool or as a warm up for a certain object especially that in our classes we don’t always  have access to the internet. For Vimeo, I also have never used it.

For this technology lab I searched the web to know more about it and found this site http://vimeo.com/videoschool which I found very easy to navigate and I also found that it not very complicated to create and bradcast your own video. One doesn’t need to be very proffissional to do so. The steps to follow are clear and the explanation is accompanied by short videos to show these steps.

I am not sure how I can employ this in my teaching but I think students can do such videos as a showcase to some of their projects or field trips and share their experiences with others.

Students who are nonverbal or don’t prefer public presentation might find this way useful although I think that it is appealing to most students. Students with sight disabilities might find this sort of  technology difficult to employ or take advantage of.

Through this assignment, I don’t claim that I am now ready to use this kind of technology as I have to study more about, but at least I  gained some knowledge of something I would have never thought of knowing about or doing. I will make sure that I will consider it  more seriously in the class environment.

Week # 11 Imagery and Video

Week # 11- Imagery and Video

Reflection Paper

The huge expansion in the use of different kinds of media and the wide spread , fast paced improvement  for such tools allows the  easiest ever accessibility for information by the young generation. This has impacted greatly teen’s culture and schooling which in turn, has placed greater pressure on educators who have to face the new emerged challenges with outdated tools and skills.  Although students possess a good knowledge in ICT language and culture, that doesn’t mean they all the time comprehend the message behind the content which can be manipulated.  As Considine, D., Horton, J., & Moorman, G. (2009) point out that “Being surrounded with media doesn’t necessarily mean that we recognize or understand its content or intent”. Since media literacy is one of the 21 century requirements and as students are more attracted to media text, educators need not only  to integrate media literacy into curriculum but also to develop the critical and academic literacy skills that are necessary for success in an out of school. I really liked the Australian high schools approach in using films and series to teach analyzing and evaluating media texts.  Using different forms of media can be both informational and motivational and at the same time engaging for all kinds of students. It is now widely  believed that the school system has to fill the gap between the literacy skills that students develop in their social environment and the literacy environment of the school through media literacy instruction, taking the advantage of students’ preference of  social networking “wikis, blogs and chat rooms” to use it for educational purposes. Along with that educators need to make sure that students understand the social and commercial context of media as well as the potential effects or consequences of those messages.  The question is that theoretically that is very encouraging but the problem here is that how can we prepare our curriculum and educators to align with the rapid and constant nature of change in technology medium and tools? And what are the implications of immersing our students in this virtual world on their future perception of values and beliefs?

Thomson, R. (2002). The Politics of Staring: Visual rhetorics of disability in Popular Photography sequenced in a very informative way the development of society’s conscious, attitude and the typical way it has addressed the image of disabled people in photography and how it has  for a long time reflected and shaped the way people perceive what is considered as normal and unmoral body shape. The taxonomy of the four primary visual rhetorics of disability “ wondrous, sentimental, exotic and realistic” have shed light on how the cultural changes and civil rights movements have participated in the efforts of familiarizing disability over the defamiliarizing it. Still more effort is needed to represent the injustice of the present exclusion of society’s policies. It is clear now from what we observe in different forms of media how  can a well employed picture or image be more effective than a hundred words

Weekly Techno,ogy Lab # 10 Mind Mapping Software

Weekly Technology Lab # 10

Mind Mapping Software


I consider myself as a novice in this technology as I have never come across it before. As traditionally, students are accustomed at outlining and note taking in a linear manner, which basically rely on relations and cause and effect, this didn’t allow going from the big picture to the details in a structured and creative way to develop links between the different concepts they are learning throughout the units. When I searched resources on the internet, I’ve found useful information about the advantages of Mind Maps. It’s more free-form and visual, allowing you to make connections and quickly mark down subcategories suggested by categories without being as constrained by space and organization as you are in a formal outline.


In its simplest form, a mind map is the product of brainstorming on paper. It consists of a central idea (normally represented by a large circle), related ideas (smaller circles), and lines connecting them together. They are sometimes referred to as concept maps or cognitive maps.
Here are some of the ways mind maps are used:

  • Organizing ideas
  • Planning projects
  • Decision making


I consider what I learned through navigating many sites are theoretically adequate but I think as any new approach you have to try it on the ground and collect observations on how it can be best used. I expect it would be worth of trying but the barriers we have in Palestine concerning the availability of this new technology for our students might be difficult to overcome for the time being. Still the concept itself implemented on paper or on the board can be very applicable and very useful to teach reading and writing. For Example instead of asking a question about what they read, teacher can put a question in the center of the board. Ideas and concepts will grow off as discussion is continuing. This allows learners to see how the ideas are unfolding and recognize the most important concepts were in the reading, if there were patterns, and if those concepts and patterns relate to another at a glance without much effort and try hard to remember what was read before.

I can see myself using Mind Mapping in teaching as it is suitable for both fast and slow learners as the pace is dictated by students and not teachers. Mind Mapping also facilitates organizing students’ thoughts, help them to keep ideas in memory and then retrieve them easily.


I think all types of students with different learning preferences especially visual learners would like and enjoy using this technology as it is flexible which means that different students can express and demonstrate their learning using different modalities. It is also time-saving, engaging and appealing to a generation of students who live in the new digital age. Students with visual impairments “blind” might find it difficult to use it, though it might be possible to be used with a screen reader.


Mind map – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Learning about learners Project # 1



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Reem Ayoush



Instructor’s Name: Dr. Wendy S. Harbour






Learning about Learners

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) syndrome is a diagnostic category that is used to describe individuals who display developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and/or proactivity. (Du Paul, Power, Anaslopoulus & Reid.1998) as cited from (Solomonidou, Chr., Areou, F. G., & Zafiropoulou, M., (2004).  According to (Barkley, 1998), 3% to 7% of school-age children are estimated to be affected by this disorder.  This neurological disorder can be diagnosed as early as the age of 3. It used to be wrongly associated to the period of childhood in which the symptoms are more prevalent however; this condition is not limited to children. Mostly, these children continue to have ADHD as they grow up, exhibiting different age group symptoms. For example a preschool child might show excessive motor over activity that is reflected in a non-stop state of moving such as jumping, climbing or running except when this child is asleep. A school aged child might feel restless and unable to focus or sit in one place for a long time, tapping on things or constantly moving things while an adult might have less severe symptoms. An adult might exhibit a withdrawal behavior lack of concentration, poor self-esteem and anxiety.  Although this condition is not exclusively limited to males, they are diagnosed with ADHD about 4-5 times more often than females. ADHD causes are not specifically definitive, however it’s strongly suggested that the majority of ADHD cases are genetically inherited. Other minor causes might include some sort of damage or injury in the brain or environmental factors such as exposure to toxic substances or chemical imbalance in the body.

     Children with behaviors associated with ADHD characteristics, usually experience hindrances that may not only include difficulties with their academic performance but that might also include social skills problems related to having difficulties in forming proper relationships with their peers which in turn causes them to be isolated and rejected.  Unless suitable instructional methodologies and interventions are developed and implemented to increase children’s chances of success, ADHD children will not be able to overcome the organizational shortfalls they face.

     The focus in this paper will be on school aged children since ADHD is a problem that mostly affects children and could have negative impact on their lives especially if they were only referred to as trouble makers and no real professional effort is carried out to meet the academic and behavioral needs of such children.

     The main symptoms of ADHD in children are: Inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

1)      Symptoms of inattention are usually reflected through

  • Inability to focus “short focus span” on details or instructions.
  • Forgetting or losing things necessary to perform tasks.
  • Inability to organize or complete tasks or homework without assistance.
  • Difficulty to listen attentively for a long conversation “switch off”.
  • Getting distracted easily.

2)      Symptoms of impulsiveness are reflected through

  • Impatience and inability to wait for turn in tasks or games
  • Getting emotional quickly. (wide range in mood swings)
  • Interrupting others while speaking or doing things
  • Hasty reactions and blurting answers before the questions are completed

3)      Symptoms of hyperactivity might be reflected through

  • Inability to stay still or remain seated in one place for a long time.
  • Inability to finish any task that requires being calm and collected.
  • Running, jumping or climbing where it is not appropriate or not supposed to do so.
  • Being noisy and disruptive.
  • Talking all the time

    The (DSM-IV) categorizes these symptoms into three subtypes of the disorder:           (a) predominantly inattentive, (b) predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and (c) combination of the two types. Children with ADHD show different combinations of these behaviors. A child doesn’t need to suffer from each and every one of them to be diagnosed with this disorder.  According to (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) in order to diagnose a child as having this kind of disorder, these symptoms must be present  in the child’s behavior before the age seven and must persist for at least six months in two or more settings (at school and at home).

     For most of the time, the level of intelligence for the ADHD child is underestimated when it is measured according to the standard school setting. ADHD child underachievement compared to his peers is due to the limited ability to focus on tasks for a long time without being distracted. Consequently, this has severe impact on his overall performance. Many ADHD children proved to have many areas of strengths that effective teachers can take full advantage of and build on to support their success. ADHD child is described as a strong-willed child. He is very energetic and flexible. These qualities can lend themselves perfectly to many learning experiences that need taking risks or creativity. He is usually more enthusiastic and spontaneous than his peers. He possesses intense curiosity that pushes him to manipulate with and explore things. If these qualities were nurtured and employed in the right way, ADHD child can develop his abilities. The main problem with these children is that they find difficulties in self-regulating which can be reflected on the areas of attention, behavior, and motor movements. Hence, it is not only difficult for teachers to constantly manage their behavior but it is also challenging to keep them focused on tasks. What is required from educators and parents is to understand that the ADHD child processes emotional and intellectual information in a different way. They also need to identify the problems that affect learning and behavior so they can evaluate the child’s needs and develop a jointly pedagogical approach to minimize the academic and behavioral challenges and maximize strengths.

     As the ADHD child suffers from several difficulties related to intellectual and behavioral aspects, so the way they learn best must have a close relation with reducing if not eliminating the obstacles that are connected to these areas. More individualized instructional practices, interacting one-on-one and frequent reinforcement and recognition would also be effective to promote the ADHD child self-steam. That will encourage him to be a productive member in the class instead of being a disruptive agent. Because ADHD child is not able to concentrate for a long time, class assignments should be broken to small chunks, and graduated in the level of difficulty. In order to help ADHD child focus, the teacher needs to make sure that this child is away from all distractions in the class environment by seating him in the first row and preferably next to a role model student. As ADHD child couldn’t handle change well, the teacher should avoid quick transitions.

  • A child with ADHD can learn better if more audio/visual materials such as overhead projectors, smart interactive boards are used. These tools are engaging since more senses are involved in information processing. These tools will help attract his attention and decrease depending on printed texts or long explanations which cause him to lose interest and in turn, the ability to sustain concentration. Subsequently, switch off.
  • Board games, manipulatives, coloring and drawing stimulate ADHD child interest. Besides, movement activities such as role-play and cooperative group work are very useful strategies especially when the teacher helps with clear instructions and timing to create enthusiasm and increase focus on the activity.
  • Setting oral and written expectations and acknowledging ADHD child’s educational and behavioral accomplishments.  Rewarding and praising proved to be useful strategies.

     The technology of multimedia can be effectively used to assist the ADHD child to improve the level of interaction with the learning material.  Short videos and narrations in addition to computer games “software” for reading comprehension, spelling, maths problems etc…, have proved to successfully hold students’ focus on the activities. Many aspects of technology appear to assist pupils with ADHD symptoms overcome their academic problems. “In particular, it was found that computers allow pupils to learn at their own pace, have infinite patience and provide privacy, promote discovery learning and help them develop problem-solving skills, can excite and motivate pupils, provide instant reinforcement, corrective feedback and immediate praise”. (Ford, Poe, & Cox, 1993; Dailey & Rosernberg, 1994; Bender, & Bender, 1996; Xu. Reid, & Steckelberg, 2002). Furthermore, the way information is being presented on the computer (graphic objects, colors, sound, animation etc.) can be highly stimulating when it comes to individuals with attention problems and/or hyperactivity impulsivity. All these features have been found to contribute to the improvement of ADIID pupils’ academic performance. (Barkley, 1998).

     In conclusion, it should be emphasized that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder might have negative impact on all aspects of a child’s life. So, creating family and school environment that meets the needs of a child with ADHD will help him to be as successful as possible and achieve his full potential.


Personal Stories

ADHD-One Mother’s Perspective

By: Kathleen Turner

“I think Devon has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” the kindergarten teacher whispered in my ear. I paused with no reaction. It sounded like my son had just been diagnosed with some terrible, incurable disease. The blank look on my face must have somehow urged her to continue on. “We’ll need a psycho-educational assessment and the results will have to go to the IPRC Committee, but that’s not until February. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, you may have to have it done privately. The cost could be between $800 and $1000. They will likely designate him exceptional-communication.”

Exceptional… finally a word I understood. Nothing was wrong with Devon. I knew my son was exceptional… the way he could ride a two-wheeler before anyone else, how he could sing with perfect pitch, how he would dress up in the most sophisticated and creative costumes, and dance, he could dance for hours. The teacher and I were not on the same page.

The teacher continued, “We will then be able to set him up with an individual education plan as soon as possible. I know you want your son to get the best education based on his special needs.” Special needs… my son has special needs! I knew what THAT meant! They think he’s retarded, stupid, a dummy, weird. My mind was rocketed back to my own childhood and the names that THOSE kids can get called. I knew Devon was difficult, I even read the book, “How to Raise a Difficult Child.” I loved my son. Nothing was wrong with him. I began my quest to prove it, mostly for myself and especially for him. Tunnel vision can have a positive side.

I read and I read about how to treat it with medicine, how to parent it, teach to it, feed it and what not to feed it, and how most people in jail have it (that scared me). I talked to teachers, doctors, psychologists, other Moms, even strangers. I listened to radio shows and watched TV shows, anything where there was a discussion on it. I soaked it all up like a sponge, began to think, and came to some conclusions.

How nature could have made such a mistake – but is it a mistake? At least 10% of North American children are considered as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and millions of kids are put on Ritalin because of it. Doctors do the prescribing, but it’s the school teachers that make the decision that if the child is to attend school, they should take the prescribed drug. How did these sets of personality traits, abilities and skills become labeled as a “disorder?”

Thom Hartmann states in his book Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception, “Generally, people view behaviors they don’t understand or which are not the “norm” as inferior. The fact that people in the 17th  to 19th  centuries debated whether or not Native and African slaves were human, highlights the extremes to which people tend to take notions of culturalism. Accepting the notion that ADHD is an inherent trait; consider the types of people who would risk life and limb for a journey across the Atlantic in the 17th century. People who are different are often lumped into a “not quite human” or “abnormal” category. Labels are very powerful things. They create for us paradigms through which we see ourselves, the world, and our place in it. Applying a label that says, “you have a deficit and a disorder” is more destructive than at all useful.”

Attributes should be presented as strengths not as weaknesses or disorders. Easily distracted, short attention span, disorganized, impulsive can be viewed instead as constantly monitoring the environment, able to switch tasks on a split second’s notice, very independent, thinking for themselves, flexible, incredible bursts of energy, thinking visually, will face danger that others will not, a willingness to take risks and quick decision making.

ADHD people are associated with high achievement, creativity, and a most successful adaptive style. A few famous people who would today be diagnosed with ADHD are Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Richard Francis Burton and Ernest Hemingway to name a few.

School is the hardest place for these children to be. Education has a long way to go before all of our children’s different learning styles and intelligences are embraced to ensure that every child is successful. My son knows that he is an intelligent, loving and competent individual in spite of the barriers that have been placed before him. Advocating for my son and others like him has become a part of my life. We’re lucky to have each other and we’ve also been lucky enough to realize that learning creates understanding and perspective is everything.












American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

     disorders (4th ed.).  Washington, DC: Author.


Barkley, R. (1998). ADHD: A hand book for diagnosis and treatment. New York: The

      Guilford Press.

Du Paul, G., Power, T., Anastopoulos, A., & Reid, R. (1998). ADHD rating scale-IV. New 

     York: The Guilford Press.

Ford, M.J., Poe, V., & Cox, J. (1993). Attending behaviors of ADHD children in math and

     reading using various types of software. Journal of Computing in Childhood


McConaughy, S., Volpe, R., et al. (2011). Academic and Social Impairments of Elementary

     School Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. School Psycholo Review,

     Volume 40, No. 2,   pp. 200-225

Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. Robelia, B. (1997). Tips for working with

      ADHD students of all ages. Journal of Experiential Education, 20(1),          

      Retrieved at: Feb,  27, 2012


Silver, Larry B. (1990). Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it a Learning Disability or

     a Related Disorder? Journal of learning disabilities 23.7 (1990):394-97

Solomonidou, Chr., Areou, F. G., & Zafiropoulou, M., (2004). Information a

     Communication  Technologies (ICT) and Pupils with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity

     Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms: Do the Software and the Instruction Method Affect Their

     Behavior? Journal of Educational   Multimedia and  Hypermedia (2004) 13(2), 109-128

Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instructional Strategies 

      and  Practices.  Retrieved at: Feb, 25, 2012


Weiler, Michael David. (2002). Information Processing Deficits in Children with 

     Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder, Inattentive Type, and Children with Reading  

      Disabilities. Journal of learning  disabilities 35.5, (2002):448-61





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Reflection Paper: Week 8

UD with disability Accommodations and Modifications


While reading for Shaw, S, F., Madaus, J. W., & Dukes, L. L. (2010) Preparing students with disabilities for college success: A practical guide to transition planning. I realized how students with disabilities are required to make this huge jump between the secondary setting and the college setting without being prepared or trained. Basically the normal student who doesn’t suffer from any kind of disability feels over whelmed by the level of independency he has to show at the beginning of his college life trying to manage things without getting the regular assistance he used to get from his school and educators. Now we can imagine the extra load that a disabled student has to bear on top of all other things any regular student has to do. Shifting this burden from the student’s shoulder, as suggested in the reading is to have these students prepared to cope with this kind of transition. Although teaching them how to be more active, independent  and to hold them responsible for the  requesting and receiving  accommodation process from the start  “self-disclosure of the disability & supplying evidence”  through carrying on the logistics of the accommodation to the end “evaluating the effectiveness of any received accommodation, are good skills to learn for future life but that is most of the time very physically and emotionally exhausting as this process for most of the times needed to be done for every course and for every class. In my point of view as there is an IEP team in the school that help students in transition planning, there should a similar team in the colleges  that are specialized to deal and facilitate the process of providing disabled students the needed  accommodations for successful access and not success to post-secondary education.

I enjoyed reading Lieberman, L. J., Lytle, R. K., & Clarcq, J. A. (2008) Getting it right from the start: Employing the universal design for learning approach to your classroom as we as educators always focus on the academic part of education such as the problems with reading, writing and maths and neglect giving more attention to universally design physical education classes. For a long time disabled were not included and even in the few cases that they would participate, the lack of suitable tools and instruments would limit their access. I really liked the “fame model” because it is an approach where students are not categorized according to their abilities. It is an approach to create modifications for lessons to promote learning regardless their ability level so the focus here is to create a lesson that is wide enough to absorb all students. This model involves determining the underlying component of the game so its level and rules can be varied to suit different groups. Students capabilities are also determined in advance to match modifications to students’ needs and all these modifications are always subject to ongoing evaluation for further improvement.  This model allows physical education teachers to universally design their lesson so every student find a place in and enjoy it instead of facing a chaotic situation in which unplanned adjustments would make it even worse.

The debate around including extreme sports and dances to the physical education curriculum drew my attention. The lack of interest that students show towards the traditional kinds of sports in addition to the excessive exposure through media to these kinds of sports and dances with all the excitements they add brings us to reconsider this issue. I couldn’t really make up my mind as both logics that I read were justified in a way or another. That may require more discussions and researches to answer good questions

Related to  students’ safety, skills, abilities, preferences and related to schools’ resources, budget, trained teachers, safety equipment etc…  Until all these are resolved, I think sticking to traditional physical education classes with some modifications is a good choice.

On line survey tools (Survey Monkey)

Technology Lab: Surveys

Week # 5

I used on line survey only once but as a  participant and not a creator and that was when one of my prof. sent us a survey to fill in order to take the results as a base for a certain lecture.  It was easy to navigate through. I consider myself a novice in this technology as I have never created or done something similar.  In terms of technology, I am not so professional and the things I master are the things that I usually use in my work and these are “word and some power point. I can search the web for different web sites and I can send and receive emails and attach files and pictures”.

It is a great opportunity for me to get to know a new kind of technology every week having to search for information about and watch some videos about on you tube.  I went to www.survey monkey.com which was friendly- user site. I read and watched the short videos about how to create one’s own surveys and I knew how there are some sites that can help one to conduct his/her survey, pick the target audience who are categorized in many ways,  analyze data and show results in different formats as charts , graphs, crosstabs and being filtered. Using on line surveys enables one to export the results to excel, CSV and SPSS.  In a short time with minimal effort compared to the time and effort one used to put in order to conduct such surveys. I think that this site is very easy to navigate especially for people like me whose background knowledge about on line surveys is little.

I am still not sure how I might use this in my work, but I think that when I am better at it  I might use  it  to surveys teachers feedback on the new English curriculum that is currently being implemented in our schools.  

It also might be useful for students in higher education for their projects for Masters o Doctoral degrees. It also could be used for projects for students who are in secondary school. People with visionary difficulties might face obstacles using this kind of technology but audio feature might be added to solve the problem.


UDL Principle 2 and Assessment

UDL Principle 2 and Assessment

Week # 5

Assessment as a concept has for a long time been wrongly interpreted and carried out as learner’s knowledge and skills were assessed through one form of standardized tools once a year so, creating unfair competition between learners while not standing on an even platform. This kind of practice was a result and in correspondence to the misconception of the idea of equity and fairness.  I believe that before being engaged in the assessment process, educators should answer some questions such as 1- what is going to be assessed?  “accumulation of information or the process of learning”. 2- Who is going to be assessed?  “Learners of similar or different cognitive, psychological & physical abilities”. 2- How is a learner going to be assessed?  “measures, procedures, tools”. The answers of these questions would definitely lead to a better understanding to the concept of assessing as a process that guarantees fair and equal yet flexible and authentic opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and skills.

UDL is interested in making assessment more accessible and without barriers to variety of students including those with disabilities.  Many software programs which can help to overcome most obstacles that usually accompany the traditional paper and pencil tests are available now. In the two readings for Rose and Meyer (2002) Teaching every student in the digital age & Ketterlin-Geller & Johnstone Accommodations and Universal Design  lots of practical examples for a wide range of available  accommodations that help to  level the playing field for students with disabilities without changing the difficulty of the test but instead by changing the accessibility to it. I was amazed at the variety of options that are available to make assessment a fruitful experience instead of being a nightmare to both students and teachers as well. The fear of providing necessary support for students who are in need for it list jeopardizing the credibility of the test is how some educators justify this issue. Nothing can justify increasing the pressure on some students and depriving them from the necessary assistance that can make a difference in their performance while maintaining the primary goal of the assessment process. Some students just need to understand the instructions or they only need someone to read them something to kick off.

Thousand et al in differentiating Instruction chapter 6 has shed light different assessment strategies however, they are all based on differentiating the way how students represent their learning “written reports, power point presentation, demonstration etc…”  The key point here is the idea of ongoing assessment for students’ performance and measuring their progress related to their own work. I consider this kind of assessment as a true evaluation to the process of learning and how can each individual student monitor his/her progress. This might seem overwhelming and needs a lot of work for teachers who mostly lack the adequate training and knowledge of how students differ in their perception and strategic expression abilities. This is also added to their minimal knowledge of disability issues and how to suitably administer accommodations to overcome the limitations caused by these disabilities. Besides, they lack the ongoing training on using new software programs that would enable them to find implementing differentiating methods of assessment an approachable goal.  Even if some teachers found their way through this dilemma still this issue needs more strategic changes from the general education system in order to adopt new approaches of assessment and grading so teachers can benefit from the technical and professional development support.

I think that there is no absolute best way of assessment that can be applied on all kinds of learners as even the same student can perform differently in different occasions and circumstances. So evaluating one’s performance should be an ongoing process. Portfolio system is a good example of formative assessment that can specify different level of proficiency.