Sunday, April 15, 2012

Universal Design and Creativity

At the School Librarians of Rhode Island conference last month, I attended a session on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The speaker, Lori Cooney, described UDL as a way to make lessons "usable to all students without the need for accommodations for disabilities and learning styles." But really, you're building in the accommodations up front by giving an array of assessment choices that play up different strengths.

Since this was my first year in a school library, and I'm there less than a day and a half (and still working 32 hours a week at my office job), I think the fact that I came up with measurable lessons at all was an accomplishment!
80-word Wordle for this blog

But perhaps my professional goal next year will be offering more options for the kids to demonstrate their knowledge v. one assignment for everyone. It will take longer to plan and longer to evaluate, so I may just pick one class to start with.

One limitation, however, is that we only have four computers in the library for an average of 26 kids in each class, which makes using online tools like Voicethread or Wordle slightly impractical. That's why I had my fifth-graders create paper slide videos for presenting their research.

But I still plan to learn more about tools that Cooney introduced in her presentation, such as Quizlet for creating flashcards. I guess I will need to be creative with what we have to work with in our 30 minutes of instruction.

And speaking of creativity ... if you haven't seen it yet, I recommend Ken Robinson's "Do Schools Kill Creativity" Ted talk.

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