When well implemented, the UDL framework and technology combine to assist in smart classroom design.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps shape teaching and learning by focusing on flexibility. Making Your Classroom Smart: Universal Design for Learning and Technology discusses the three tenets of UDL. It then outlines how technology supports each of the areas to support smart classroom design.
The three tenets are Engagement, Representation, and Action and Expression. The framework recommends providing learners with multiple options for each principle. The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) provides the UDL framework and related resources.
The article presents a variety of technology tools to support student engagement. The tools allow for students to self-monitor, attend to their focus and offer cognitive training. Additionally, the author suggests programs that support scaffolding for learning or make the curriculum more accessible.
Technology that provides for multiple examples of the same concept makes print materials accessible, highlights critical elements, and provides graphics or pictures when illustrating concepts are some features recommended to support Representation.
Offering a variety of ways a student can express their knowledge, serves the goal of the Action and Expression component of the UDL framework. Assistive technologies promote opportunities for some students in this area. The report highlights other programmes that allow teachers to build in reflection, and present their knowledge and skills verbally, in writing, or orally. The report provides examples of the technology, their function and cost.
Smart classroom design relies on curricular goals and material designed in a UDL manner before instruction, never retrospectively. The combination of technology to support students’ learning should also include a concrete framework to assist in the well-considered design of technology into curriculum goals and teaching and learning.