The philosophy for the utilization of technology in instruction and assessment is the universal design learning (UDL) framework that integrates technology for inclusive education that caters to the diverse needs of all students. The assistive technology includes devices that help students with disabilities. UDL uses the approach of differentiated instruction, which influences learning by enabling teachers to provide varied instructions to meet the multiple intelligences and requirements of students in a diverse classroom. The main focus of UDL is to provide materials and methods that are inclusive and assessment, unlike the traditional curriculum that limits students’ access to learning.
- Procedures. The rationale behind the UDL framework is to minimize the barriers to the provision of instructions in the classroom and maximize the flexibility of instruction and assessment. The approach integrates three main principles for effective instructional delivery — support for recognition learning, strategic learning, and affective learning. These principles are achieved through the provision of flexible and multiple methods of presentation, expression, and engagement, respectively. The application of UDL for small or larger groups is the same, given that it is universal to the diversity of the classroom. Therefore, the principles that apply to different groups put together are replicated in smaller groups.
- Scheduling. Technology is utilized in two ways — the “what” and the “how” of learning. The “what” of learning refers to recognition networks, primarily how one gathers and processes information. In this case, technology aids help present information better to students using audiovisual and other electronic and digital means. The “how” of learning entails allowing students to express themselves in the medium that best suits them. Technology can assist them in making oral and audiovisual presentations, written submissions, within-classroom discussions, or across geographical areas using internet connectivity. The frequency with which technology is integrated into classrooms is determined on a need basis. The instructor will apply his or her discretionary authority to determine what situations require technology input as an aspect of holistic representation and expression within the UDL framework.
Instructional Technology Resources
There are various materials, hardware and software and a variety of resources needed for incorporating technology in assessment and instruction practices in the UDL framework. For instruction, there is a need for textbooks, audio and visual learning materials. In terms of the diverse needs of students, those who can use textbooks are provided them and others who can only decipher audio and visual materials are supplied the same. Students are also encouraged to make the best use of technology to upgrade their skills and learning regimes. For instance, understanding and using appropriate software is necessary for various purposes. Spreadsheets, for instance, are appropriate software for the processing and timely delivery of feedback. Other software such as Quizizz, Survey Monkey, and Riddle are important for creating survey questions and quizzes as well as for encouraging discussions on different learning themes.
It is apparent that the Universal Design Learning framework provides a useful philosophy in instruction and assessment in the inclusive classroom. The framework must be interpreted and implemented in its tripartite dimensions, namely the recognition networks, strategic networks and affective networks. Instructors can schedule technology use in a discretionary manner based on student needs, and have materials, resources and software to use by the students.
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