Starting a new blog to streamline my writing and to inform this process, I will share a bit about one of my passions… Universal Design (UD), more specifically, Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
As part of this passion, I love to learn, listen and share my experience. My approach to UDL includes conversations about about accessibility. Why? Because the better informed we are, the more potential we have to do better in our daily lives. I remember a time when I recommended instructors to create PDFs for just about everything. Now I know that PDFs may be convenient, but the least accessible type of content for any screen reader users. Scanned PDFs? Usually images, even someone who can see cannot select specific content to annotate it correctly.
Borrowing from Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, a great mentor, we should think in terms of ability, versus disability. At one time or another every one of us experiences an increase or decrease in levels of ability, whether it is temporary or permanent. I, for instance, use glasses to see more clearly as a result of decreased near vision, a common occurrence as we get older. This experience to me allowed to feel a decrease in visual ability, which I correct with the assistance of lenses, thus re-gaining an increase of visual ability.
Thinking in UDL terms, we are very diverse learners. We have preferences on how we consume content and learn. Do we learn better by hearing, seeing, feeling, doing something? Do a combination of two or more senses provide a more lasting learning experience? How can I better communicate to more effectively connect with others? What ways should I take into consideration when others communicate with me to capture their message? These questions and more I explore on a daily basis.