Challenge #1: scenario 2

“You have taught for a few years in a self-contained classroom for students with autism spectrum disorders.  As a cornerstone of your educational philosophy, you have encouraged your team to support integrating your students into the general education setting more and more.  However, at this point, the other teachers are struggling adapting their teaching practice, and your students are not finding success.  You have decided that you need to work with the general education teachers to plan using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework so that your students can be successful in the general education classroom.

You decide to write a proposal to your building principal to require UDL training for all general education teachers.  In your proposal, please begin with an informative and persuasive introduction to Universal Design for Learning, potential reasons for curriculum design that would result in struggling students, and the role that UDL should play in the overall instructional process.  Please augment your proposal with a rich example of the UDL Framework, using our UDL chapter (p. 199) as a model, and outlining the learning environment that you envision, and the resources, tools, and methods necessary for success.  Please be sure to also give some careful discussion to the potential barriers to implementation, and how those would be addressed.”


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all individuals an equal opportunity to learn, and focuses on meeting individuals needs.UDL provides a base for creating instructional goals, assessments, lessons, and material that works for everyone. Universal Design for Learning is helpful in planning instruction for teachers, so they can work to reduce the obstacles and barriers that students with different learning styles and abilities may face. UDL also increases the learning opportunities for all students. This curriculum accounts for the fact that everyone does not learn in the same way. UDL provides differentiated approaches that can be adapted and modified for different individual needs. Using the Universal Design for Learning will be extremely beneficial for special education students that are integrated in a general education classroom as well as general education students who might be struggling in certain subjects. Collaborating with General Education teachers is also important, because UDL is beneficial for all students, not just students with disabilities or struggling learners. General Education teachers may not be able to recognize the barriers that are making students struggle. This is why it is essential that general and special educators work together to successfully implement UDL into classrooms.

UDL with severe ADHD

Students with severe ADHD have difficulties focusing and learning new material. By using a UDL, students with ADHD in a general education classroom will have a more appropriate experience, while learning with their general education peers. UDL provides an accessible opportunity for students with ADHD.

Principles of a UDL

1)   Multiple means of representation

The first principle of a UDL includes how information is presented. This includes activating background knowledge, clarifying instruction and vocabulary, mathematical notation and symbols in order to make sure all students understand the content, directions, and material. General education teachers should be able to explain and adapt their lessons in order for all students to effectively understand the lesson.

2) Multiple Means of Action and Expression

The second principle of UDL is how students with ADHD express themselves. Some students with ADHD have trouble communicating their feelings. With the access to a variety of tools, technology, goals, planning, and support, these students will find a comfortable way to communicate. In all classrooms different tools should be available for students to use in order to express themselves. Whether it be a specific way to communicate or a guide to use during a lesson, students should have the appropriate manipulatives available at all times.

3) Multiple Means of Engagement

The third principle of UDL is making sure to acknowledge important areas such as individual choice, relevance, value, and authenticity. Allowing students to participate by choosing among options will spark their interests and allow for teachers to observe what their students are most comfortable with. Some students might have trouble working in a certain way. In this case, if they are given the option, they can work however they feel is most effective.

In Practice:

– Place the student with ADHD away from distractions and close to the teacher

– Make sure that the student understands the material and is staying focused during the lesson

– Provide the student with different accommodations


Learning environment

– Close by teacher

– Minimal distractions

– Lower noise levels

– Resources:

– Music can be used to calm the student down and relax them

– Silly-putty/stress balls can be used to relieve stress during class



 – Computers can help students with ADHD focus better because it makes the

instruction visual and will allow students to participate actively

– Use audiovisual materials. For example, using an overhead projector while

students are working at their desks

– Digital storytelling

– Timers


 Methods necessary

– Peer tutoring

– Highlight key points

– Reduce the frequency of timed tests: eliminate test anxiety

Check out this promotional video for why UDL should be used in all classrooms!












Challenge # 1: scenario 1

“After a highly successful experience in the renowned Special Education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you took a critical position with a school district seeking to accelerate technology and innovation throughout its classrooms.  Midway through the year, a building principal has forwarded you an email from a concerned parent.  The parent had just read an article on the Huffington Post titled “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12″, and is now concerned about the expanded use of technology in the school district.  The principal and superintendent would like you to provide a significant and meaningful response.”

“Teachers will not be replaced by technology but teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by those who do.” Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

This quote demonstrates the importance of technology. Numerous articles discuss the idea that today’s classrooms are filled with digital natives, and most teachers are digital immigrants. Technology is continuously changing and growing, making drastic impacts on all individuals’ lives. It is essential that future generations can live in the future: a world filled and enriched with technology. Technology will help teachers prepare our students to succeed in the real world as it becomes much more technology-dependent. Websites also argue how they foresee a future in which both higher education and the work world will be centered on technology. If technology is not included in schools, students may suffer and fall behind peers who are using technology in all aspects of their lives.

There are numerous ways the technology can be used. As this article demonstrates, technology may have some negatives. That is why is it up to teachers and parents to work together to make the positives of technology overcompensate the negatives. Having set rules for each student can prevent obesity, sleep deprivation, addictions, and more negatives discussed in the Huffington Post article. By setting a strict time limit of how much time your child has to use technology at home will help keep kids actively engaged in other things besides technology. For example, there are settings on tablets that allow parents to set an automatic time limit, in which the tablet turns off after a certain amount of time. Working as a team with your child’s teacher will have a positive impact on your child’s life. As demonstrated in this audio clip from people who experience technology in schools, the pros of incorporating technology outweigh the cons.

The following video lists and demonstrates 10 reasons why technology SHOULD be used in schools.

The ten reasons listed in the video are as followed:

1. Student love it.

2. It engages the four key components to learning.

3. Professional development.

4. Makes life easier for teachers.

5. Improves tests scores.

6.Helps students with low attention spans.

7. Learn from the experts.

8. Encourages completion of homework.

9. Saves money -investment.

10. Remove obstacles.

This list as well as many other reasons displays reasons why technology is essential. One valuable reason to use technology in classrooms is to help students learn at their own pace. Incorporating technology will help teachers create lessons that assist students who are learning at a much faster rate as well as students who may be struggling. By digging deeper into the subject or exploring related topics, more advanced students can further develop their understanding. While these students are continuing to advance in a given subject, students that are struggling can have more time to understand the material without pressuring them.

This video,


shows how integrating technology helps students express themselves and allows them to learn things in a different perspective. It also shows how students can collaborate with peers and teachers. Some of the main points from this video stated:

– The common core standards call for students to develop digital media and technology skills

– Integrating technology with face-to-face teacher time generally produces better academic outcomes than employing either technique alone.

– Improves student writing skills and engagement when 1:1 laptop programs are in place

– Improves student understanding of math concepts and attitudes towards math when they use virtual manipulatives

Next, in order for students to fully use technology in a successful and appropriate way, students must be digital citizens. This article lists The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. While teaching our students through technology in the classroom, we will also teach them to use it appropriately. One of the nine elements, electronic exchange of information, will be used our whole life and should be properly explained and taught. Communicating through technology has expanded tremendously over the years and is continuing to expand. If our students are not aware of how to use these tools, then they will be hindered when working with people who are more technology advanced. We have to make sure that our students are capable of using digital technology as it grows. These nine elements create a building block for how to educate our students on the issues and concerns their parents and guardians face as technology increases. Being a digital citizen and fully understanding these nine elements will ultimately teach students to use technology appropriately, so that many of the negatives that parents are worried about will be prevented.

At the end of the day, the debate of whether technology is “good” or “bad” in the classroom could be endlessly argued. Although various sources will list reasons not to incorporate technology in the classroom, the fact of the matter is, technology is EVERYWHERE. Without encompassing appropriate technology use in the classroom, students will fall behind. For every concern that educators or parents may have, there is a solution and benefit to using technology. When students, parents and teachers work together, technology in schools can lead a path for future generations to succeed

Twitter, Technology, and Teaching

Everyone has different opinions on technology, especially technology in the classroom. While browsing my twitter feed, I found an interesting tweet that linked an article that discussed the importance of balancing technology and teaching.

The article discusses the idea of technology being everywhere and how it is a “universal language spoken by the entire world”. It continues the discussion that I have talked a lot about in class, about how jobs of the future require technological skills. There is an ongoing battle between teachers struggling to incorporate technology into the classroom and students who use technology daily and will need technological skills to succeed in the future. The article continues to discuss the importance of integrating technology into lesson plans, and gives great ideas as to how to successfully balance teaching and technology. Teachers can use this article to understand the importance of

(balancing technology) and teaching, and learn methods that help make this integration more successful and effective!

Another interesting tweet I found was one that talked about the importance of giving students a voice.



Students need to be given the opportunity to “recognize their own belief’s, practice articulating them in a variety of forms, and then find the confidence to express them”. By utilizing resources that can be accessed on the web, teachers can give all students a voice. The article linked in the tweet gives four opportunities that teachers can use to give students a voice. This includes blogging, storify or storehouse, podcasting or voicethread, and YouTube channels. By using such technologies in the classroom, students are given an opportunity to comfortably express themselves and their opinions, to further develop and find their voice.

The last tweet that really stuck out to me this week was one that discussed eBooks.



Personally, I don’t know too much about eBooks and all they offer. That is why I found this article to be so informative. Although it is unrealistic for most schools to provide some sort of eBook or device for every student, if it was possible, it would be very beneficial.  Since more and more children are becoming more familiar with working technologies such as eBooks, it would be advantageous if teachers used them in the classroom. The article in the tweet gives 11 reasons as to why eBooks should be used and all they can do to better ones readi


For my ignite presentation, I decided to do it on my high schools peer mentoring program. I am very passionate about this program. It is such an amazing opportunity that all high school students should get to experience.

Tweet to Learn!


Twitter is most famously known for being a social media website. Although many users take advantage of its social media purposes, many don’t recognize all that twitter can do. The following article describes numerous ways that people can use twitter to its full potential.

Personally, I originally made a twitter just because all my friends told me to. I didn’t fully understand the purpose of it or why it was so essential that I got one. Even after having twitter for over a year, I still didn’t understand the hype of it. I really only use twitter to see what my friends are up to, and never utilize twitter for news or other purposes. Now, after having a “teacher twitter” I am finally understanding how great of a resource twitter can be when used properly.

This week I browsed my twitter feed to find tweets that display information about teaching with technology. I found a lot of information that is very beneficial for teachers. One tweet that really stood out to me. Although it doesn’t give specific suggestions for teaching with technology, it presents a very important idea.

The idea of this tweet is that a lot of teachers are afraid to utilize new technologies in their classroom.


Too often teachers stick with the basics because they’re afraid that they won’t be able to work new technologies, and that they will break and ruin their lesson plans. The idea that all recourses used in schools have the potential to break is very important for teachers to consider. By recognizing that, “Yes, technology breaks”, teachers can realize that they shouldn’t fear new technology, but instead see that it is something they should incorporate and use! I believe this should be the first step for teachers and technology. Acknowledging that technology breaks just like all other classroom materials will push teachers to try to incorporate technology into the classroom.

The next tweet that really struck me was one that had an article discussing an app that features tablet ready assessments.

Since students seem to be motivated by technology, having assessments that are given through technology could be very beneficial for educators. According to the article, “The assessments help educators identify learning gaps, understand student needs and improve 21st century teaching skills”.  For teachers who have access to these technologies, it could be very beneficial to use this app to assess students in 21st century skills. Because this technology is up to date, it can be assumed that the skills it assesses are skills that students should be proficient at. Unfortunately, a lot of teachers may not know about this app and what it can provide, which is why twitter can be such an important resource for teachers. This simple tweet can really impact a classroom and the way teachers educate their students. Personally, if I work in classroom that has devices that are capable of using this app, it is something I would be very inclined to use. Based on the article, this one app can provide “deeper insight into student’s grasp of critical 21st century skills, such as creativity, information fluency, critical thinking and digital citizenship”. All of these components are skills that are emphasized in all of my education classes, so I would definitely utilize an app that can provide these skills!

Although a lot of other tweets provided me with valuable information, the last tweet I will mention is one that provides an article with a list of free web tools for teachers to utilize.

Frequently teachers can’t use technology in the classroom due to how expensive it can be. This tweet is very valuable because it has the top 10 free web tools that teachers can use in the classroom. If teachers see this list, as well as other suggestions on twitter and the internet, they have no excuse not to include technology into their classroom and curriculum. Overall, this tweet is a very helpful resource for teachers who want to incorporate technology as much as possible, but may be limited due to cost. I know personally that when I am a practicing teacher that I will try my best to take full advantage of using free resources.

Altogether, twitter is such an amazing resource that people don’t take enough advantage of. Thanks to this class, I am able to recognize how beneficial twitter can be, and how important it is for teachers to utilize all available resources!




Technology: good or bad?

 Are the effects of technology good or bad? This simple question has been an ongoing debate for quite some time. Some believe the negatives of technology outweigh the positives, and that technology is “evil”. Although people often focus on situations like this, 



people need to recognize all that technology offers. Although one could endlessly argue both sides of this debate, what it really comes down to is how each individual chooses to use technology. We are the deciders of technology and have the opportunity to make it “good” or “bad”. 

If someone where to ask me what being a digital citizen is, even after weeks of reading articles, watching videos, and discussing the idea in class, I am still uncertain if I could give an appropriate definition. Digital citizenship is an accumulation of ideas that on the surface can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. Image


It is very clear that technology is essential in the 21st century. I don’t think it’s fair to say that one needs to be a digital citizen in order to be a citizen of the 21st century, but it definitely would be beneficial. Since technology is so apparent in today’s world, it is vital that schools are preparing future generations to use technology appropriately and in ways that are valuable. 

For those who believe that technology only has negative effects, Stephen Balkam displays a great example of how technology can be constructive and make a significant difference in peoples lives. In Balkam’s article, he describes how Egyptians are true examples of digital citizens. He states, “While the role of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and others may well have been overstated by some, it is undeniable that the use of the web to organize and sustain many of the protests has been critical. And what has emerged is a hopeful and potentially enriching experience of ordinary people claiming their rights of free expression and assembly and using the platform of the new technologies to make this happen.” This example of cyber- activism displays what being a digital citizen really is: using technology to make positive change and standing up for what one believes in. 

Schools have the potential to meet the needs of digital citizens. More and more schools are utilizing Image and incorporating technology into the classroom. It is up to teachers to instruct their students how to use technology in productive ways. As demonstrated in Egypt, technology can have remarkable outcomes. Although most people associate digital citizenship as staying safe online, standing up to cyber-bullying, respecting the online community, and thinking about what one posts, this comic strip made by a student is a great display of another way to look at digital citizenship.

In order to prepare future generations to be digital citizens, schools need to recognize and support the idea of digital citizenship. One way to do this is by having digital citizen classes for all students. This school has a specific class for teaching digital citizenship, and if other schools follow their lead,and expand on it, educators can start to prepare to meet the needs of their digital citizen students.


Am I Using Technology Appropriately?

The idea that technology is continually changing and improving is a widely recognized idea. Years ago, people barely knew about laptops and cell phones; now, for most people it is hard to imagine being able to live without them. As technology changes, life changes. A lot of people believe that technology has its own world, the “digital world”. The reality is, this “digital world” is part of the real world, and it is critical that younger generations understand that technology is encompassed in their everyday life and effects all decisions they make.


This awareness that children and adults must have is tied to the idea of digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate and responsible behavior in regards to technology use. Image

Since technology is a relatively new concept, especially the innovative technologies we have today, a lot of people misuse and abuse it. This is commonly seen in schools, where technology is now playing a larger role in curriculum. It is essential that schools and teachers prepare students to be members of this new digital society that we are apart of.  The real question teachers need to ask their students is,


This idea of being a “good digital citizen” is something that should be taught to students starting at a young age. It is also important that adults use technology appropriately. When students see their role models misuse technology they may assume that as a norm which can lead to many issues. Technology is in-erasable. Once a child does something online it will always remain there whether it was meant to or not. It is critical that students ask themselves:


Thinking about these questions, teachers need to encompass digital citizenship into their curriculum. This week I started following numerous educators, technology specialists, and other education accounts on twitter to learn how twitter can benefit me when I am a teacher. By exploring twitter, I was able to gain a lot of insight in ideas regarding digital citizenship and technology in the classroom that will benefit me as an educator.

This tweet was very beneficial to me. Due to a fear that it could turn into a major distraction, I haven’t gotten very involved in Pinterest. This tweet showed me that Pinterest could be an excellent resource for me as a teacher. Specifically, this tweet displayed a board that was exclusively about digital citizenship and displays ideas as to how I can guide students to become positive digital citizens and leaders. When the time comes around that I need to incorporate digital citizenship into my classroom, I can look back at this tweet to access this Pinterest board to browse ideas. If I had not seen this tweet I most likely would not have found this Pinterest board that is very beneficial for educators.

The next tweet that was useful to my understanding about digital citizenship is a tweet that linked a blog post about how one teacher incorporates digital citizenship into his classroom.

Since there are numerous ways to give students the opportunity to be digital citizens, this tweet was beneficial because it linked a blog where a teacher discussed how he makes his students digital citizens. This blog has a very interesting perspective because this teacher does not “teach” digital citizenship but rather makes his students apart of the digital world. That way, they can learn about being digital citizens by being apart of it. He believes that technology issues arise because of a lack of experience, which is why he has his students be apart of the digital world at a young age. Because they are in a controlled environment to gain experience with technology, they will gain the skills and knowledge to be digital citizens when they are on this own. This is a new perspective on digital citizenship that I believe is very advantageous and is something I would do if I teach younger children.

The last tweet I decided to share is one that links to a blog that includes a Skype interview with a teacher who includes twitter and blogging in her kindergarten class.

work starting at a young age. Using social media also allows students to respond and reply to each other, which enhances their reading skills. This tweet also led me to a blog platform called Kidblog, which is a great resource to use for all aged students.  Lastly, this article gave me a new perspective about getting parents involved in the classroom. By using blogs and twitter, parents can be apart of their child’s education and they can comment and respond to each together. By using twitter and blogs in a kindergarten classroom, interaction can develop at a young age and students can learn appropriate ways to use technologies.

Overall by using twitter as a resource, I was able to find numerous recourses and ideas to benefit me as an educator. Because there are so many users with such unique ideas and perspectives, one can gain a lot of insight on digital citizenship, as well as other teacher ideas by using twitter. I can’t wait to continue to use twitter to find ideas and eventually share my ideas with other educators.