The role and fuction of Universal Design for Learning as a technique in cereating more inclusive learning systems at a time of change for schools and teachers. Presented at ODS Summer School in Marathon, Greece on 15 July 2014
Text of Addressing student variability in educational design
Addressing student variability in educational design Dr. Alan Bruce ULS Ireland ODS Summer School Marathon, Greece 15 July 2014
Setting contexts Global change and emergence of new learning priorities: crisis, power and ownership Transforming educational systems: linkage to quality, outcomes and employment The Inclusion Imperative: access, equity and innovation Understanding difference: student diversity in a changed world Policy to best practice design, integration and sustainable values Introducing Universal Design for Learning
1. Global change Patterns of constant change Permanent migration mobility Outsourcing Flexible structures and modalities Obsolescence of job norms Knowledge economy Ecological pressures End of certainty
Challenges to the system Persistence and increase in inequality Permanent hopelessness of excluded Embedded violence and internal underclasses Social polarization Stripping away rights Invisibility, ethnic difference and the retreat to denial Role of learning
Accelerating inequality 12 m.: numbers with more than $1m. to invest (9,2% increase since 2011) $46,2 trillion: aggregate wealth of this group (10% increase since 2011) Ultrarich (>$30m.) surged 11% (now 35,2% of all millionaires) World Wealth Report: RBC Wealth Management & Capgemini Financial Services (June 2013) Declining social mobility Rising income inequality reflected in declining equality of opportunity Global Wage Report 2012/13, ILO (Prof. Miles Corak, Journal of Economic Perspectives 2013)
Mainstream: nightmare or opportunity? Mythology of the normal Defining the mainstream: what have we become? Robust probing of social structure required as a preliminary to defining mainstream Masking power, relationships and inequity Need to avoid clich and assumptions Learners are immersed in and emerging into this changed constellation of which educators may know little
2. Transforming educational systems Education is both structure and process Aims and goals vary considerably Education systems mirror world, society and relationship-matrix of which they are part Education systems are as much constraining as liberating Forum for ideas or market for products? Or both.?
Critical perspectives Traditional schooling in the spotlight Learning systems both reflect and lead society Informationwisdomunderstanding Critical enquiry - back to Illich Reflection and inquisitiveness Engaging with difference
Knowledge in transformation Commodification of knowledge Impact on education systems (Freire, Illich, Field) Impact on work (Braverman, Haraszti, Davis) Impact on community - alienation and anomie From community to networking Knowledge and learning now centrally linked as product and process dimensions
Traditional models Conservative Strict Hierarchic Inflexible Memorization and recall focus Examination-driven Resistant to application of new technologies
Potential models Pupil/learner centered Competence driven Community focused Technologically enhanced International engagement focus Learning process (application modes) Individual value (humanistic approach)
Current realities Disruptive classroom behaviors Absenteeism Early school-leaving Teacher burnout Migration, integration and sustainability Literacy, numeracy, basic skills Languages Quality and governance DG EAC (2008) European Education and Training Systems in the Second Decennium of the Lisbon Strategy, NESSE and ENEE.
3. The Inclusion Imperative Five key issues: 1. Measures to reduce early school leaving 2. Priority education measures in relation to disadvantaged pupils and groups 3. Inclusive education measures in relation to pupils with special needs 4. Safe education measures in relation on the reduction of bullying and harassment 5. Teacher support measures.
Defining inclusion Social inclusion can be defined as a number of affirmative actions undertaken in order to reverse the social exclusion of individuals or groups in our society INCLUSO (EU 7th Framework, 2009)
Defining exclusion A multidimensional process of progressive social rupture, detaching groups and individuals from social relations and institutions and preventing them from full participation in the normal, normatively prescribed activities of the society in which they live. H. Silver, Social Exclusion: Comparative Analysis of Europe and Middle East Youth, Dec. 2007. (Wolfensohn Center for Development, Dubai)
Probing inclusion Not necessarily benign Not necessarily desired Not necessarily valued Inclusion or conformity? Exclusion often seen minimally as lack of access Exclusion is a systematic policy of inequality and denial of rights Hugely different implications
Shaping real inclusion If learning, working and production are controlled inclusion is at best token, at worst sinister At the core of inclusion must be ability to assess critically and express freely Fundamental to inclusion is ability to ask questions that challenge existing relations Inclusion re-examines existing reality while posing viable alternatives
Trajectories of inclusion Youth and mass unemployment Demographics: ageing and life expectancy Women and labor market participation Immigration, cultural and religious difference Disability Conflict, stress, anomie Urbanization, dissent and democratic deficits
Meaningful inclusion Inclusion changes both sides the act of mainstreaming is to change the mainstream not the excluded From objects to subjects Narratives of adaptation and discovery From target group to citizen Critical role of teachers Inclusion and the dialectic of rights
4. Understanding difference Student variability what does it mean? First there was access the struggle for universal education Education as a right not privilege Starting with gender Ending with society
Schooling history Relatively recent mass public schooling only in 19th Century Highly segregated: gender class language religion ability
Catering for all how and why? Is education a right? Who pays? Setting standards Assessing outcomes Purpose and vision Impact of ICT
Legacies of excluding systems Legacies of segregated schooling Gender Disability Religion Ability Language Class Unequal school systems mirror unequal society Schooling is not separate from wider socio-political environment
5. Universal Design for Learning Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials and assessments that work for everyone - not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs
Universal Design Originally it referred to designing buildings, products and environments that are accessible to all sections of society including the aged and those with disabilities of all kinds. The 9 principles: Equitable use Flexibility in use Simplicity Perceptible information Tolerance for error Low physical effort Accessible size and space for approach A Community of learners Instructional climate
Design for All (DfA) The name of the European initiative associated with ICT inclusive products and e-accessibility (Web Accessibility Initiative/WAI) Design for All (DfA) embraces the idea that it is possible to produce ICT goods, which can be accessed to all potential users without modification, or, at least products should be easy to adapt to different needs, or should use standardized interfaces that can be accessed simply by using assistive technology. International standardization considers principles of universal design, ISO 20282-1:2006 provides requirements and recommendations for the design easy-to-operate everyday products, taking into consideration design requirements for context of use and user characteristics aiming at ease of operation.
Key focus Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that addresses the primary barrier to fostering expert learners within instructional environments: inflexible, one-size-fits-all curricula.