User Generated Education

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Posts Tagged ‘UDL

Schools Need to Include More Visual-Based Learning

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When asked what my first language is, I often answer, “visual.” I think in images, prefer to be taught through images, and like to express what I know through images. I find it disconcerting that as learners progress to the higher grades, there is less use of images and visuals to teach concepts.

The power of the use of vision for learning is emphasized by developmental molecular biologist, John Medina, where in his publication, Brain Rules, he states:

Vision Trumps All Other Senses

We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. Professionals everywhere need to know about the incredible inefficiency of text-based information and the incredible effects of images (http://www.brainrules.net/vision).

Created by students for teachers, the following video shows students frustrated with the lack of visual learning in the classroom:

This post is a call to action to increase visual-based learning in the classroom through:

  • Using visuals, images, video, and other visual media to teach and demonstrate concepts.
  • Using and teaching learners how to make concept maps.
  • Using and teaching learners how to do sketchnotes.
  • Allowing and encouraging learners to show what they know through visual imagery.
  • Teaching visual literacy.

A Visual Enhanced Classroom

Use Visuals, Images, Data Visualizations, Infographics and Videos to Teach Concepts

Our brains are wired to rapidly make sense of and remember visual input. Visualizations in the form of diagrams, charts, drawings, pictures, and a variety of other ways can help students understand complex information. A well-designed visual image can yield a much more powerful and memorable learning experience than a mere verbal or textual description (http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/visual-thinking/).

Because of all of the multimedia available to teachers, there has been an increased use of visual presentation of content in the classroom.  Educators, though, should assess their visual impact. Youtube videos of talking heads or PowerPoint presentations that are text based just reinforce instructional systems too heavily dependent on the verbal and written word.

The use of slide presentations by educators help to provide visual stimulus for their learners. They tend, though, to be way too text based as satirized in Life After Death by PowerPoint by Don McMillan . Truthfully, I am a strong proponent of using PowerPoints for teaching given that they are image rich and text limited. Garr Reynolds or Presentation Zen provides tips for preparing presentations that honor the use of visuals in Top Ten Slide Tips.

Concepts can also be demonstrated through data visualizations and infographics.

Visual analytics play off the idea that the brain is more attracted to and able to process dynamic images than long lists of numbers. But the goal of information visualization is not simply to represent millions of bits of data as illustrations. It is to prompt visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to learn more (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/08/data-visualized-more-on-teaching-with-infographics/)

Strategies for using data visualizations and inforgraphics in the class can be found at Data Visualized: More on Teaching With Infographics.

Use and Teach Learners How to Make Concept Maps and Graphic Organizers

Research tells us that the majority of students in a regular classroom need to see information in order to learn it. Some common visual learning strategies include creating graphic organizers, diagramming, mind mapping, outlining and more. These strategies help students or all ages better manage learning objectives and achieve academic success. As students are required to evaluate and interpret information from a variety of sources, incorporate new knowledge with what they already have learned, and improve writing skills and think critically, visual learning tools help students meet those demands. Paired with the brain’s capacity for images, visual learning strategies help students better understand and retain information (http://www.inspiration.com/visual-learning).

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For more ideas for using mind maps in the classroom, see 10 Mind Mapping Strategies For Teachers.

Use and Teach Learners How to Do Sketchnotes

Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and visual elements like arrows, boxes, and lines (definition from Mike Rohde, The Sketchnote Handbook).  Although sketchnoting was born out of the need to take better notes at conferences and in meetings, I believe the process of making sketchnotes may have tremendous educational value for students and professionals.  This is especially true for students who struggle taking traditional notes or need a fresh approach to learning.  Please keep in mind that this is about ideas, not art (The Sketchnote Handbook) (http://campus.murraystate.edu/faculty/jcox/sketch.html).

I discuss Sketnoting in more detail in my post – Visual Note-Taking.

Allow and Encourage Learners to Show What They Know Through Visual Imagery

Allowing learners to show what they know through visuals supports Universal Design for Learning second principle, Provide Multiple Means of Expression:

It is important to provide alternative modalities for expression, both to the level the playing field among learners and to allow the learner to appropriately (or easily) express knowledge, ideas and concepts in the learning environment. These include:

  • Compose in multiple media such as text, speech, drawing, illustration, design, film, music, dance/movement, visual art, sculpture or video
  • Use social media and interactive web tools (e.g., discussion forums, chats, web design, annotation tools, storyboards, comic strips, animation presentations)
  • Compose in multiple media such as text, speech, drawing, illustration, comics, storyboards, design, film, music, visual art, sculpture, or video

Such alternatives reduce media-specific barriers to expression among learners with a variety of special needs, but also increases the opportunities for all learners to develop a wider range of expression in a media-rich world (http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines/principle2).

Teach Visual Literacy

If we think of literacy as reading and writing words, visual literacy can be described as the ability to both interpret and create visuals. With the constant, overwhelming flow of information and communication today, both parts of this modern literacy equation are non-negotiable (http://gettingsmart.com/2015/07/the-new-literacy-equation-visual-literacy-is-non-negotiable/).

Visual literacy is important in multiple ways:

  • Teaching visual literacy helps kids better interpret art and visual media that they come in contact with.
  • Visual literacy allows a deeper interaction with texts of all kinds and introduces the process of analytical thinking about representation and meaning.
  • There is evidence that, even for older children, examining and understanding how art and text interact may allow readers to “visualize” while they read–a key to proficiency in and enjoyment of reading.
  • By teaching “educated perception” of artwork (for instance, how certain techniques elicit specific emotions or effects) you can teach children how to be more skeptical and informed viewers of all visual media, including advertising (http://ccb.lis.illinois.edu/Projects/youth/literacies/visual2.html).

 visual-literacy

Here is list of visual literacy resources as compiled by Kathy Schrock:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

July 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

UDL and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

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In response to all of the attention given to the flipped classroom, I proposed The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education in which the viewing of videos (often discussed on the primary focus of the flipped classroom) becomes a part of a larger cycle of learning based on an experiential cycle of learning.

Universal Design for Learning has also been in the news lately as a new report Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Initiatives on the Move was released by the National Center on UDL, May, 2012. This post describes the principles of Universal Design for Learning and how they naturally occur when a full cycle of learning, including ideas related to the flipped classroom, are used within the instructional process.

Universal Design for Learning

The UDL framework:

  • includes three principles calling for educators to provide multiple means of engagement, multiple means of presenting instructional content, and multiple means of action and expression when designing and delivering instruction
  • is based on the latest learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, human developmental science, and education research
  • helps educators to use digital technology and innovative methods to teach whole classes while personalizing each student’s instruction
  • provides a blueprint for creating flexible instructional goals, methods, materials and assessments that work for everyone—rather than the one-size-fits-all approaches found in typical instructional environments http://www.udlcenter.org/advocacy/state/report

Source: http://www.cast.org/udl/

More about UDL can be found at:

Some of the key findings of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Initiatives on the Move study:

Both state and local district leaders:

  • reported a high degree of familiarity with the UDL principles. All state leaders reported having good, very good, or excellent familiarity with the UDL principles, while more than half of the local leaders reported being extremely or moderately familiar with the UDL principles.
  • linked UDL with other education initiatives that embrace universal approaches occurring in general education environments, e.g. response to intervention (RTI), positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), and differentiated instruction.
  • perceived a connection between technology and UDL.

State leaders reported:

  • strong connection between UDL and standards-based education initiatives, e.g. the Common Core State Standards and statewide assessments.
  • UDL was addressed as part of their state technology plans or in the context of 21st century learning.
  • critical to UDL advocacy:two factors are critical to UDL advocacy: (1) state leadership need to embrace UDL and (2) UDL must be understood as a general education initiative that moves beyond special education.

UDL, the Flipped Classroom, and Experiential Learning

As I stated in my introduction, I proposed an experiential flipped classroom learning model in response to all of the attention being given to the flipped classroom.  I think it is a great opportunity to change the predominant didactic model of education that is especially prevalent in upper elementary through graduate school education.This model has experiential learning at the core of the learning process with the content videos supporting the learning rather than being the core or primary instructional piece.

Simply put, experiential learning is learning from experience. Experiential learning can be a highly effective educational method. It engages the learner at a more personal level by addressing the needs and wants of the individual. For experiential learning to be truly effective, it should employ the whole learning wheel, from goal setting, to experimenting and observing, to reviewing, and finally action planning. This complete process allows one to learn new skills, new attitudes or even entirely new ways of thinking. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_learning)

UDL is a strategy, a process that provides opportunities for all students, not just those with special needs (but I believe all learners have special needs), to be successful learners.  This is the same goal for the flipped classroom model designed as an experiential learning cycle.

UDL and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

What follows is how an experiential flipped classroom learning model, that includes elements of the flipped classroom, fits the principles of UDL.  Explanations are provided about how the principles of UDL are naturally and seamlessly addressed in this model.

Experiential Engagement

The primary UDL principle addressed during this phase is Provide Multiple Means for Engagement.  The goal of this phase, in line with the tenets of experiential learning, is to hook or motivate the student by engaging him or her on a personal level.

By introducing learners to the lesson topic and content through sensory-rich, highly-engaging, hands-on, and authentic learning activities, the following key guidelines of this principle are addressed:

  • Provide tasks that allow for active participation, exploration and experimentation
  • Design activities so that learning outcomes are authentic, communicate to real audiences, and reflect a purpose that is clear to the participants
  • Invite personal response, evaluation and self-reflection to content and activities
  • Include activities that foster the use of imagination to solve novel and relevant problems, or make sense of complex ideas in creative ways
  • Create cooperative learning groups with clear goals, roles, and responsibilities – many of these activities require cooperative learning. (http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines/principle3)

Concept Development: The What

The primary UDL principle addressed in this phase is Provide Multiple Means of Representation.  This is the phase where videos, as proposed by the flipped classroom, are utilized to assist students in learning the theoretical concepts related to the content being covered.  As previously noted, though, the videos are used to support, introduce, and reinforce the theoretical content as opposed as being at its core.  Videos should not be the only source of concept formation.  To support learning, a multimedia learning environment needs to provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation. Ways of addressing this principle include presenting material in a variety of formats (http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=147).  Interactive websites and ebooks, simulations, and content-rich websites can also service this purpose. The learner should be offered a menu of resources to study and learn about the topic.

The following guidelines of Provide Multiple Means of Representation are addressed if learning is approached in this manner:

  • Present key concepts in one form of symbolic representation (e.g., an expository text or a math equation) with an alternative form  (e.g., an illustration, dance/movement, diagram, table, model, video, comic strip, storyboard, photograph, animation, physical or virtual manipulative)
  • Provide visual diagrams, charts, notations of music or sound to support auditory content and information.
  • Provide descriptions (text or spoken) for all images, graphics, video, or animations
  • Provide interactive models that guide exploration and new understandings
  • Provide multiple entry points to a lesson and optional pathways through content (e.g., exploring big ideas through dramatic works, arts and literature, film and media)

Meaning Making:  The So What

The primary UDL principle addressed during this phase is Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression.  Learners, during this phase, construct their own meanings and understanding of the experiences, content, and topics covered in the previous phases.  They do so via blogs, vodcasts, podcasts, Voicethread, Edmodo, wikis, and other web 2.0 tools that allows for personal reflection and expression. A digital environment supports student learning when it provides multiple, flexible methods for student action, expression, and apprenticeship (http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=147).  As with content presentation, several options should be offered to the students.

The following guidelines related to Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression are addressed when learners making meaning of the content:

  • Use social media and interactive web tools (e.g., discussion forums, chats, web design, annotation tools, storyboards, comic strips, animation presentations)
  • Compose in multiple media such as text, speech, drawing, illustration, comics, storyboards, design, film, music, visual art, sculpture, or video
  • Use web applications (e.g., wikis, animation, presentation)
  • Use story webs, outlining tools, or concept mapping tools

Also addressed are guidelines from Provide Multiple Means for Engagement:

  • Provide learners with as much discretion and autonomy as possible by providing choices
  • Vary activities and sources of information so that they can be personalized and contextualized to learners’ lives
  • Design activities so that learning outcomes are authentic, communicate to real audiences, and reflect a purpose that is clear to the participants
  • Invite personal response, evaluation and self-reflection to content and activities
  • Provide feedback that is substantive and informative rather than comparative or competitive

The Multiple Means of Representation are also reinforced during the meaning making phase as learners are asked to . . .

  • Incorporate explicit opportunities for review and practice

Demonstration and Application: The Now What

During this phase, learners demonstrate what they learned during the previous phases and how this learning will transfer to other areas of their lives.  The primary UDL principle addressed during this phase is Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  • Compose in multiple media such as text, speech, drawing, illustration, design, film, music, dance/movement, visual art, sculpture or video

Also addressed are guidelines from Provide Multiple Means for Engagement:

  • Provide learners with as much discretion and autonomy as possible by providing choices
  • Allow learners to participate in the design of classroom activities and academic tasks
  • Vary activities and sources of information so that they can be personalized and contextualized to learners’ lives
  • Design activities so that learning outcomes are authentic, communicate to real audiences, and reflect a purpose that is clear to the participants
  • Provide tasks that allow for active participation, exploration and experimentation
  • Include activities that foster the use of imagination to solve novel and relevant problems, or make sense of complex ideas in creative ways
  • Vary the degrees of freedom for acceptable performance

The Multiple Means of Representation are also reinforced during this demonstration and application phase as learners . . .

  • Provide explicit, supported opportunities to generalize learning to new situations
  • Offer opportunities over time to revisit key ideas and linkages between ideas

UDL Photo Images from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

May 29, 2012 at 2:02 am

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