This week was very helpful for me because I think it may have given me a new activity that I can do during the presentation that I am putting together about how to do UD in a residence hall environment. Here it is:

In Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning, they talked about the 4 main teaching methods:

  • Provide multiple examples
  • Highlight critical features
  • Provide multiple media and formats
  • Support background knowledge

I have been thinking about how to discuss these in my presentation for how to do RA training. So, I am thinking that I can have two members of the audience come up and have one serve as the “learner” and one as the “teacher”. Then I will have the teacher try to verbally describe a figure (probably the one from the rey-osterrieth complex figure test) to the learner, and have the learner try to draw it based on what they are hearing. This would be an example of a teacher teaching in only an auditory format. Then, the learner will be allowed to turn around and see the figure, but only for a couple of seconds, and then try again to draw the figure. This would be an example of a teacher teaching in a visual format. Finally, the person will be given a copy of the figure on a piece of paper and be asked to draw it. (Also, by having the person draw each time, it should also be kinesthetic.)

Altogether, these would collectively show how you could work to try to effectively teach RAs. When teaching RAs (or anyone), we should show them, tell them, have them do something, and then provide them with materials that they can access on a regular basis. I think by demonstrating it in this way, I think I should be able to show how providing the information in various ways will benefit everyone and caters to all kinds of learners. I also think that we could talk about the other principles listed above by talking about putting together a kind of “RA vocabulary list” (What does cell duty mean?), highlighting the information that is critical to what they are learning (for instance, what are the critical parts that make an engaged citizenship program an engaged citizenship program), and utilizing technology available to us (such as the Google Doc suite we had talked about).

I also read Bain, which has made me think about how I structure the presentation overall. While many presentations appear like lectures, I know that in order to make it a quality presentation, I will need to be aware of the five essential elements of the natural critical learning environment:

  • An intriguing question or problem: We frequently do not know when our students and student staff have disability, and that can cause us to underserve them.
  • Guidance in helping the students understand the significance of the question: How does using UD help us to serve students with disabilities? (We don’t need to know who has a disability or what it is to be able to serve them.)
  • Engage students in some higher-order intellectual activity: multiple activities meant to show what universal design might look like, how to use it, and why it is beneficial.
  • Environment helps students to answer the question: By experiencing UD in the presentation, they will see its benefits.
  • Leave students with a question: How can I use this on my campus and in my hall?

I think that this may illustrate how I will be able to utilize the principles in my presentation (or “lecture”).

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