Twist Taps are Not Tip-Top Taps

A lever mixer tap. Twist taps are not tip top taps.
Consider the tools needed for learning and how they can be accessed by all students. Image: Ron Porter, Pixabay.

In this latest collection of posts, I’m sharing illustrations of universal design. My aim is to connect these designs to ways we can consider the design of teaching strategies to ensure access to learning for all students. Twist taps are good design example.

Many of us in Australia take for granted free and quick access to water from a tap, but not everyone can do this due to the way taps are designed. My very precious granny had arthritis in her hands and she sometimes experienced weakness. So turning traditional twist taps was hard at the best of times and not possible at some times.

A small but significant change to the tool needed to do the job was all that was required. Adopting a lever style tap eliminated this access barrier for my granny. Consider then the tools that our students require to access their learning.

This connects to Checkpoint 4.1 of the UDL Framework: Vary Methods for Navigation

CAST explains that learners differ widely in their capacity to navigate their physical environment. Educators must reduce barriers to learning that might occur due to the motor demands of a task. This can be achieved by providing alternative means for our students to respond, choose, and compose.

Practical Strategies

Learners differ widely in their optimal means for navigating through information and activities. To provide equal opportunity for interaction with learning experiences, we, as teachers, must ensure that there are multiple ways for students to navigate and control their learning. Some recommendations from CAST include:

    • Providing alternatives in the lesson requirements. Cater for rate, timing, speed, and range of motor action required to interact with instructional materials, physical manipulatives, and technologies
    • Considering alternatives for physically responding or indicating selections (e.g., alternatives to marking with pen and pencil, alternatives to mouse control)
    •  Offering options for physically interacting with materials by hand, voice, single switch, joystick, keyboard, or adapted keyboard

Connect to Your Practice

Can you think of a student who may benefit from being able to select alternatives for accessing physical materials or technologies? Including options in your lesson design that caters for that student will likely provide better access for some of your other students, too.

Check out the other posts in Lizzie’s UDL File