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"Universal Design for Learning" Innovations Spark Students' Desire to Learn

Experts in tech and education have discovered a new way of engaging students who are turned off by the traditional methods of school.

"Neuropsychologist David Rose spent years helping kids with learning disabilities participate in school by creating digital textbooks with pop-up graphics, text to speech, flexible fonts, and other customizable features to fit individual needs," reports Chris Berdick for Slate. "The books were so engaging 'that traditional books started to look relatively disabled by comparison,' says Rose, co-founder and chief education officer of the Center for Applied Special Technology."

Rose and his team built software and digital tools that offer students multiple ways to learn and express what they learn, through print, speech, graphics, music, and other methods. "They call their new missions 'universal design for learning,' [UDL] and a movement was born. Spurred by the rapid advance of computers and broadband Internet in schools, UDL initiatives have sprung up in nearly every state in the last five years."

This new approach to education technology hopes to engage students who would otherwise be uninterested in learning.

"The goal is to change the students' emotional reaction to reading from something they have to do, because they're in school, to something they want to do, because it's meaningful to them and could enrich their lives," Slate reports.

In the coming weeks, roughly 200 educators, academics and entrepreneurs will gather at the University of Southern Mississippi for a summut on UDL implementation.

"Ultimately, Rose says that UDL is only indirectly about mastering facts or specific skills. Its primary goal is to give kids the motivation, confidence, and resourcefulness needed to 'turn them into expert learners.' "

Read the full story.

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

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