The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has established several basic principles for Universal Design for Learning. Each principle is designed to optimize learning for students of all backgrounds and abilities. One such example is Principle I - Providing Multiple Means of Representation.

Think for a moment about classroom assignments that you may give. Reading text is one of the most common assignments educators give students, yet it is a challenge for many kids. Some struggle with the context. Some students are reading at a higher level than the rest of their classmates. Others struggle with decoding skills. Many just hate reading! Yet, by taking the Universal Design for Learning approach, we can give students multiple ways to get to the same goal.

For kids who struggle with reading, providing a way to listen to the text can be an excellent way of completing the same task, just in a different way. Sites like Voki, have allowed this to happen. It's very much like using driving directions. Some people like maps, others GPS, and still some like to have hand-written/drawn directions.

Just this week, I found an awesome audio / visual online encyclopedia called Qwiki. Simply type in your search and Qwiki will provide an audio-visual presentation with links to other resources. This site could be very useful for students who struggle with research skills. Using Qwiki along with a graphic organizer, could help these struggling students master the art of research. Even if you don't have students who struggle in this area, Qwiki is an awesome tool to use! I encourage you to use it!

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