“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” – Bill Gates

CEP 811: Incorporating UDL into my Maker Project

on August 4, 2014

The goal of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to reach the maximum number of learners possible (Rose and Gravel, 2011). Rather than developing curriculum for the “average” student, UDL seeks to create lessons that will meet the needs of the learners in the margins. Designing curriculum this way actually benefits more students, for all students profit from curriculum that adheres to UDL’s principles. The three main UDL principles are:

1). Provide Multiple Means of Representation

2). Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

3). Provide Multiples Means of of Engagement

After learning about UDL, I reimagined my Fraction and Decimal Equivalences game to better adhere to UDL’s main principles. A link to my new and improved lesson can be found here. The template I used to revise my lesson plan can be found here.

While I believe that my changes make my lesson more accessible to all types of learners, parts of my lesson were already UDL-friendly. For example: I already had a review component in place to help activate background knowledge, groups were expressing answers in various ways depending on the game card drawn, and feedback was provided through reviewing and discussing answer submissions.

When reading about the Universal Design for Learning framework, however, I realized that there was much more that I could do to reach more students in my classroom. The highlights of my revisions are listed and explained below:

  • Review Portion: Before diving into the game, students will review the vocabulary and concepts that will be drawn upon during gameplay. Students will be asked to activate background knowledge and rememberings as we create a KWL chart together. All vocabulary terms will also be recorded on anchor charts, with both text and a visual for each term. Our review will be recorded and uploaded for later viewing (if needed). Enacting the review through multiple modes will ensure that a greater number of students understands the underlying concepts needed for the activity.


  • Directions: Directions will be provided in several formats: they will be displayed digitally, explained orally, and demonstrated live with a volunteer. A short video with an explanation will also be provided on iPads so students can view the directions again once in small groups.


  • Means of Expression: Answers may be recorded in the format of the student’s choice to ensure that the student is able to fully explain himself/herself in the format that works best. Options include performing work using pencil and paper, using the National Library of Virtual Math Manipulatives, typing on Evernote, creating a short video demo, using VoiceThread to put together a digital presentation, or some combination of these options. The only requirement is that the student’s thinking and explanation is clearly expressed.


  • Assessment: Process will be highly valued: are students learning from mistakes? are they responding to feedback? are they problem solving? can they explain their mathematical thinking? Feedback given will identify patterns of errors and wrong answers and will help turn errors into positive strategies for future success.


  • Time: Because all learners work at different speeds, I will provide more game boards than there are groups. This way, students can switch boards at their own pace without feeling pressured to rush.


A summary of my shift in lesson planning can be found below, in the infographic I created using


*Click image to enlarge



Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0). Wakefield, MA:


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