Friday, December 11, 2009

Teaching with Technology Reflection: UDL Lesson Creation

I believe I will begin by stating that I have an even higher respect for teachers, and my opinion was already sky-scraping. Teachers are required to have more skills sets, qualities, and abilities than any other profession I know. Personally, I do not have a degree in education nor do I have a teaching certification. My background is very technical and I have run complex computer networks for much of my career. I have worked in school districts’ technology departments for over 7 years, but only with instructional technology for the past three years. If the CAST UDL Lesson Builder is even an inkling of what teachers go through to plan daily lessons, than I tip my virtual hat to this amazing population of people.

The UDL lesson builder was very difficult for me. It was time consuming and forced me to focus on what a teacher and a classroom of students go through during a day in the classroom. I have performed many walkthroughs with classes, but I have never had to participate in curriculum writing or lesson planning. After this experience, I’m not sure I ever want to again.

Don’t get me wrong… I am richer for the experience. However, this was a first attempt at anything like this for me. I have written many strategic plans in my day, but somehow, this was very different. I had to get inside a teacher’s mind and play out scenarios with students of various learning abilities. Additionally, having to remember accommodations and supports for learners with physical or mental impairments was also a challenge to include in the lesson.

I don’t think I ever thanked Mrs. Corpstein, my elementary school’s Enhanced Learning Program teacher. She was way ahead of her time and helped many of us excel in ways very similar to the UDL methods. Thank you! I now understand why you had all that grey hair and still loved your job.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great reflection. I thought your lesson plan was amazing! It doesn't look like it came from a "first-timer".

    If it makes you feel any better, the UDL lesson builder was also daunting for me, with my eight years of classroom experience and six years of technology facilitator experience.

    Many teachers go to great lengths every day to reach all of the learners in their classrooms, but with time constraints and traditional testing requirements, efforts on the level of UDL do not happen as often as they should. And it's not necessary, in my opinion, to plan every single lesson to that level of detail.

    What I did like about the UDL exercise was it forced me to think about all of the ways the diverse learners in our classrooms can be reached. With the right technology in place, many of the necessary supports - like screen reading software and scanners - would already be built in as a possibility for each and every learning activity. That would get us much closer to UDL for all.