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Ideas for Universal Design

I’ve been teaching in public schools for fourteen years and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to consider how to meet the needs of all learners, but with the technology available now the potential for helping student’s succeed is limitless. This week in the Capstone course we’ve been looking at Universal Design for Learning and Multiple Intelligence Theory, and low and behold, today on Twitter, what shows up but a link to a blog on how to use two web 2.0 tools to reach students who are visually and hearing impaired. Talk about serendipity.  Here’s the link if you want to read the post for yourself.

http://instructify.com/2009/09/17/voki-trailfire-mashup-special-needs-education/?=twitter.

The basic concept behind UDL is that what works for students with learning disabilities can also have broader applications and the potential to help all students learn differently.  Here is a primary example. Voki, an avatar that will speak text that you type into it, can be programmed to speak in a variety of languages. This is great because of course, students who don’t speak English as their primary language can listen to directions in their native tongue.  But this isn’t what makes Voki so great.  What is really unique about it is that it allows teachers to record directions, thereby meeting the needs of students who learn best by listening.

The other tool mentioned in the blog is Trailfire.  It’s not something I’m familiar with, but reading the blog, my understanding is that Trailfire is a tool that allows you to save and post sticky notes to a series of webpages.  Combine Trailfire with Voki and you now have a tool that can provide information in multiple modalities. I’ll leave you to read the rest of the blog which gives detailed instructions on how to use Voki and Trailfire, but you can see why I found it so intriguing.

Hervy, Lisa. Instructify. Instructafeature: reach special needs students using voki and trailfire mashup. September 17, 2009

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Categories: capstone, education
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