Make a connection between UDL and the current technologies that are used to support diverse learners in a digital age. Please cite information from Chapter 1, PCT and Chapter 1, TES.)
Simply put, technology is what makes UDL possible… Period
Sure there are some devices and ideas that require no technology at all or are considered to be “low-tech”, but they can only do so much. UDL is all about reaching every student: The little boy who has been told that he cannot do something because of his disability. The girl who has given up on her education because the curriculum was not made accessible to her. All of the children who have been left behind.
Technology is what is making all of these ideas that at one time seemed so advanced and futuristic, tangible. If 20 years ago you had asked your school’s principal for a pen that could read the words on a page a loud for a student with Dyslexia, he/she probably would probably have had you drug tested and seriously evaluated for any psychiatric disorders. With where we are now in the world of technology, it feels like we can do anything. If the idea is there, we will figure out a way to engineer it.
To say that technology is essential for UDL is debatable. First, I think it is important to note that there are many ways that you can implement UDL ideas without technology. Some schools do not have the money and you will need to be creative. (Check out http://www1.pgcps.org/UDL/index.aspx?id=129130 for some ideas on how to make your instruction fit the UDL principles with little-no cost to you.) With that being said, I think that if you have (1) access to the technology and you find it (2) worthwhile and (3) appropriate to integrate it into your instruction, then you should most certainly do it.
One last point I would like to make is that as great as technology is, we need to make sure we are teaching our students how to modify their learning environments to make them work for their own specific needs. If the technology being used inside the classroom cannot be duplicated outside of classroom, then what is a student supposed to do once he/she enters the “real world?” …And isn’t that the whole goal of the education system; To prepare students to function effectively in society? Thoughts?
“You put a fish on land and it struggles with it’s abilities, you put a fish in water and its gifts and abilities come alive. The fish performs better in the water cause that’s where it was created to perform. Water is it’s element.
For your gifts and abilities to work at their best or full potential, you have to find the element you were created to perform in!
Find your element and you’ll notice you’ll be hard to compete with!” -Robert Atchison, Slam Poet