The myth of universal learner by Todd Rose in Variability Matters
In the enthusiastic video below, Todd Rose, from Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), speaks about the myth of the average learner. He argues that some people believe in this myth. Although we live within a world where variability is the rule and not the exception, some people ignore it when it is time to design their course.
He adds that our brain has like billions of neurons to form a network that interact with environment, constantly being shaped by individual experience. When it comes to learning we often consider that our brains are more or less the same. According to Todd Rose when it comes to the brain just like it comes to learning, variability is the rule. It can be harder to see sometimes but it is there and it really matters.
According to CAST, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to curriculum that minimized barriers and maximizes learning for all students. It also helps to avoid losing economy of scale in more and more over-crowded classrooms.
One year ago, CAST, Educational Development Center (EDC) and the University of Michigan (UM) announced the UDL Curriculum Toolkit, an open-source, web-based platform for developing and publishing curricular materials with supports and scaffolds based on the principles and guidelines of Universal Design for Learning. Click here to access the Guidelines (users: “student1” to “student9” – password: “guess”). In addition, feel free to explore Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST) and Foundation Science Projects, two applications built with UDL Curriculum Toolkit illustrated in the video below.
Although Universal Design for Learning is not about all technology, sometimes it makes it more accessible. For this reason have a look at the Database of Adaptech Research Network’s Free & Inexpensive Computer Technologies Project.
Finally, here’s the Quebec Association of Postsecondary Students with Disabilities’ (AQEIPS) list of disability service providers to work with in higher education in Quebec.