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Learning Log- Universal Design for Learning

December 14, 2011

To summarize what I understand this principle to be is, “allowing all students to learn any way they want or are able to.”  This is a great principle to get behind, in fact text book manufacturers are getting behind this principle when they are selling texts to school.  Two years ago I was on a committee to decide what text we would like to purchase for the county.  The competing companies were showing off all of their extra perks to buying their texts and many of them were going into the digital realm.  They now offer pdf versions of the text but then allow for narrated versions to accompany the text.  The laboratory exercises are also digitized and virtual so students can complete them at home.  This is fantastic in terms of differentiation of material and allowing students to learn at their own pace.  Now I need to be skeptical.  Ultimately, as educators, we need to prepare students for the next step.  I feel that there needs to be delivery of information to go along with the ability to have students learn at their own pace.  Employers are not going to allows their employees to complete assignments at their leisure.  This is not preparing students to work within timeframes, but teaching them that they can do what they want, when they want to do it.  In my opinion this is not logical and is a disservice to students.  I am all for meeting the needs of learners, however, within reason.  All students need to learn in an unhindered way as importantly as they need to be pushed.  There needs to be compromise on both ends to make this truly universal.

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