All this said, here is the link to UDL so you can follow. If it makes better sense to you, by all means let me know http://www.udlcenter.org/.
One issue, I would question, is found on the first link that students will “Know how to set challenging learning goals for themselves.” Do students really set learning goals for themselves with Common Core, or are the goals chosen for them? I think we know the answer to that one. I also question whether CC is leading to more independent thinkers.
The other big goal that stands out (I will spare you discussion on all of them) “Monitor and regulate emotional reactions that would be impediments or distractions to their successful learning.” Is it good for young children to always regulate their emotions? Every child needs some self-control, but with all the CC controversy, one must question whether the program is right when a child runs into trouble? Maybe the student is perfectly justified to have a meltdown. When you don’t pilot test curriculum, you come up weak on the implementation. Perhaps I am thinking too deeply about this stuff.
UDL has a nice ring to it because both special ed. and regular ed. teachers have always strived to get students to the point where they can work well together, especially when working with students who exhibit mild disabilities. For those students, getting assistance and encouragement to succeed in regular classes is nothing new. Special education teachers working in resource classes and as consulting teachers have helped mainstream students for years!
But try as I might, I have thus to see any current evidence UDL works. Putting the videos on this UDL website aside, when it comes to Common Core, what I keep seeing and hearing about on social media is mostly worksheets. They remind me of the old dittoes parents, teachers and students used to scorn. They usually have some terrible flaw or are age-inappropriate. UDL just doesn’t seem like any Kumbaya approach to learning.
The only possible way some of the concepts behind UDL could ever work would be to have a very small class sizes. And we know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Ask Bill Gates what he thinks of lowering class size.
Students with differences on both ends of the spectrum will continue to reflect the great flaws in Common Core. Parents who post the dittos with the problematic questions get it. But other, less savvy, parents may never know their student is not being challenged, or they are working on material that does little to capture their interest or real capabilities.
When differentiation is mentioned it is usually paired with assistive technology—CAST. Cast is some kind of subset of UDL, I think. I’m sorry. I had to quit with this stuff when I saw the Adaptive Engine http://www.cast.org/research/projects/clipps.html. I will revisit it another day. Could UDL really be about getting all students online for their schooling? This is, I believe, the ultimate goal. It isn’t really about Kumbaya at all. Now I need some aspirin.