Thursday, June 20, 2013

UDL Guides Personalized Learning

"Many children struggle in schools... because the way they are being taught
is in the way that is incompatible with the way they learn."   Peter Senge

Universal Design for Learning® (UDL) is the lens to guide the design of Personalized Learning Environments. UDL is based on neuroscience and how we learn. There are some misperceptions about UDL. You can determine each learner’s needs by using the principles of UDL to understand their strengths, challenges, aptitudes, interests, talents and aspirations. UDL has often been connected to special education, but it is a framework that applies to ALL learners who have variability in their learning. UDL helps teachers understand who all the learners are in their classroom.
Todd Rose from CAST explains why Variability Matters

When the learner understands how to use the UDL principles to understand how they learn best, they own and drive their learning. These three UDL principles help teachers know how learners:

  • Provide Multiple Means of Representation
  • Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression
  • Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

The UDL 2.0 Guidelines can assist anyone who plans lessons/units of study or develops curricula (goals, methods, materials, and assessments) to reduce barriers, as well as optimize levels of challenge and support, to meet the needs of all learners from the start. They can also help educators identify the barriers found in existing curricula. You can use the UDL Guidelines to help you determine your learners strengths, interests, and challenges and how they:
  • prefer or need to access and process information.
  • prefer to express what they know.
  • like to engage with the content. 

When learners know how they prefer or need to access information, engage with the content, and express what they know and understand, then they take responsibility for their learning. 

Access, Engage, Express TM is a trademark of Personalize Learning, LLC 2013.

Diagram by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mindset Matters

Mindset is about believing in yourself. Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology and author of "Mindset" discovered in her research at Stanford that belief guides a large part of your life. Much of what you think of as your personality actually grows out of this "mindset" and could prevent you from fulfilling your potential. You can have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Think about someone you know who has a fixed mindset. Consider how they are always trying to prove themselves and how they are supersensitive about being wrong or making mistakes. They tend to be someone who constantly finds excuses so they might not take some risks or try something new or challenging. 
Did you ever wonder why they are this way? (Are you this way?)

All of us are born with a love of learning. We had to or we wouldn't walk or talk. A fixed mindset can undo your love of learning and even have you believing that you cannot do some things. 
Think about a time you were enjoying a crossword puzzle, trying a new sport, or learning a new dance when it started to become too difficult. Did you suddenly feel bored, tired, or some other feeling that made you stop? Next time you did this activity, did you feel that you couldn't accomplish it? This could be a fixed mindset about that activity.

Now think about someone you know who is skilled in the growth mindset -- someone who understands that important qualities can be cultivated. Think about the ways they confront obstacles. Consider the things they do to stretch themselves.

What are some ways you might like to change or stretch yourself?
Picture yourself in a growth mindset around any activity you felt was too difficult. See yourself taking on the challenge and picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn.

Grow your Mindset (graphic from p. 12-13 Mindset by Carol Dweck)

Which mindset do you have? Not sure, then we highly recommend reading Carol Dweck's book Mindset and checking out these websites about her work:

Carol Dweck continues the discussion on brain research at Stanford by taking a closer look at how the brain controls the psyche and how deeply intertwined it is with the field of psychology.