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Roxy Hickman's discussion posts

  • Roxy Hickman 02 Apr 2014 11:50am () in Examples of how various apps support UDL Guidelines

    This video shows how to apply the text-to-speech accessibility features on the iPad through the framework of Universal Design for Learning. It focusses on strategies for supporting all learners in the classroom using the iPad's built in settings.

    View this video with its online transcript in YouTube  


    There are more accesibility examples from SETSIG that relates to UDL Guideline 4: Provide options for physical action


  • Roxy Hickman 01 Apr 2014 12:57pm () in Book Review: Neurodiversity in the classroom

    Thanks for sharing your review Tara, I particularly like that we can access the first chapter.

    A few quotes that stood out for me:

    Teachers should not seek to "cure," "fix," "repair," "remediate," or even "ameliorate" a child's "disability.


    "The brain is in no sense like any kind of instruction machine, like a computer. Each individual's brain is more like a unique rainforest, teeming with growth, decay, competition, diversity, and selection" (quoted in Cornwell, 2007).

    Image Source

    The neurodiversity-inspired educator will have a deep respect for each child's unique brain and seek to create the best differentiated learning environment within which it can thrive.  
    Educators ought to know what students in special education are passionate about—what their interests, goals, hopes, and aspirations are. Studies suggest that children who have the capacity to surmount adversity usually have at least one adult in their lives who believes in them and sees the best in them (Brooks & Goldstein, 2001).

    Be curious about how our kids see the world!  

  • Roxy Hickman 27 Mar 2014 9:21pm () in Individual Differences and the 3 Brain Networks

    We have talked a lot about knowing your learner in the UDL group. Below is an example from CAST of a matrix that will help teachers get a deeper understanding of students individual differences and overall class make up based on the three brain networks


    Individual differences and the 3 brain networks

    “To start thinking about students’ challenges and potentials in the framework of the three brain networks, consider whether a given characteristic relates to their ability to take in information (recognition), to plan and execute actions or skills (strategy), or to connect and engage with learning (affect). Then determine whether it is a strength, a need, or a particular interest.”

    Models of these matrices can be found on the class profile mentor



    Interests / Preferences

    Recognition (learning "what")




    Strategy (learning "how")





    (learning "why")





    Examples of student qualities are also provided as a starting point

    Student Qualities

    From this information, teachers can reflect on the materials and methods used within their classroom. This example is taken from Model Three: Reflections

    Material / Method

    Barriers or missed opportunities

    Text Book

    Student with low vision, limited English proficiency will not get information from textbook. Those with high interest and proficiency with computers will not be able to take advantage of these skills and interests

    Multiple Choice Test

    Student with fine motor difficulties may perform poorly for reasons not relevant to content knowledge; students who thrive on other ways to express knowledge (e.g. drawing, oral presentations) may not perform as well on multiple choice test

    Small group project

    Students who are shy, or have social difficulties are at a disadvantage; students who are strongly independent and work very well on their own may not show what they know and can do to best advantage.

     “Notice that the barriers and missed opportunities are not tied to particular students, but are understood in relation to the class as a whole, or even a potential or hypothetical class. UDL thinking moves you away from a diagnostic approach (a student with problems) to an approach based on analyzing the curriculum’s flexibility”

    An individual approach alone may not provide optimum learning opportunities for all students, therefore we need to design learning experiences with to reach more students.


    CAST Teach Every Student have a wealth of resources worth checking out for putting UDL into practice.

  • Roxy Hickman 25 Mar 2014 10:28pm () in Raising achievement for Maori boys

    Kia Ora Taniwha, 

    Rather than jumping straight in with a tech solution, I would start by asking what scaffolds are in place for learners to develop their ideas for writing? Do you use visual prompts, like photos and videos to help engage them in the writing process? Do you allow them to use voice recordings to get their ideas out, before having to write them? What is their hook? - the thing that inspires them to share their thoughts.

    You may also be interested in some of the discussions in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) group, particularly the story on Boys and Writing - Removing the Barriers and Smash the old images of a classroom with digital text

  • Roxy Hickman 24 Mar 2014 9:22pm () in Smash the old images of a classroom with digital text

    Hi Megan, 

    Great to hear that you are using Clicker docs with your students. It is far more affordable now that it is available on the app store. It would be great to hear your experiences of how it is providing support for writing and what difference it is making in terms of students achievement. 

    For your students working within level one, I want to know more - What are their learning goals? You may find that by specifying the goal, it will narrow down the search for the appropriate supports. Consider what part of the reading and/or writing process needs to be supported and what are their next learning steps? 

  • Roxy Hickman 19 Mar 2014 9:58pm () in A snapshot of the UDL Guidelines

    I would like to share with you this video from English Online to make links back to some of the nine UDL guidelines. The HoD of English at Tamaki College in Auckland talks about how access to online writing environments are impacting on student’s production of writing. This is one section of a longer video that can be viewed as part of a story on Tamaki College’s approach to differentiation.

    HOD English Tamaki College

    Video: English HOD Reflection - Choices

    Overlaying the UDL Guidelines

    The lessons described in the video were not planned for using UDL. However, by using this as an example to overlay the guidelines, we can reflect on how this work could easily lend itself to universal design from the outset.

    It is also not to say that you need to meet all of the guidelines all of the time, the aim of this example is simply to see how current practice in New Zealand classrooms have many elements of universal design. With a nudge in the UDL direction we can design inclusively for ALL learners.

    I have pulled statements from the video and matched them to specific indicators to help breakdown the UDL framework. Of course this only captures a snapshot of teacher voice and other feedback may provide examples of other ways that the UDL Guidelines relate to this particular piece of work. 

    The UDL Guidelines

    UDL Guidelines - brief

    Source: http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines 


    Examples of UDL from the video

    UDL 1


    “The internet has allowed students to find exemplars of different types of work, not only in writing but visual texts” 


    UDL Guideline 7&8


    “The students can look at what are we being asked to do here, what are the possibilities? This year we are seeing kids who are putting together picture books, websites, visual presentations."

    "It’s challenging the students.”

     “It increases the importance of their writing… it’s online and can be accessed by them and their families at any time”

     “We can work alongside them… and the students are really responsive to that” 


    UDL Guideline 9 


    “[the students are] spending a lot more time in the care and the presentation of their work” 


    UDL Guideline 4


    “to physically work on that [piece of writing] and to write it on a piece of refill  was an event… we knew it was a draft, where they thought it was a final copy.”


    UDL Guideline 7

     “At the end of the process we would then give [the assignment] back to them with lots of comments and lots of highlights on it and that was really demotivating for our students”

    UDL Guideline 5

    “We can access them as they are writing and work with them… the students are seeing that writing is not an event it’s a process”



    UDL Guidelines 5&6




    “We are seeing that the achievement is going up… because of the process and because of the kids enthusiasm” 

    “We can confidently say this kids has these specific learning needs to be able to move them up”


    We can look at a lesson and retro-fit ways to incorporate UDL


    We can make a shift in our thinking towards planning from the outset to redesign with UDL in mind


     Have a go at applying the UDL Guidelines on one of your units of work or individual lessons. Here are some questions for reflection: 
    • What are you are already doing that incorporates some of the UDL guidelines? How does this benefit your students?
    • Are there some guidelines that you find easier to consider more than others when you are planning? What impact might this have on your students?
    • What areas of the framework do you feel would help develop your practice further? Why is this important for your students?
    • With this in mind, how will you go about using the framework in designing future learning for your students?


    I would love to hear more of your stories about how you have used (or intend to use) the UDL Guidelines and the impact on learners.


    To learn more about the UDL Guidelines:

    UDL center - Guidelines

    UDL center - Implementation examples

    UDL Guidelines - Educator Worksheet


  • Roxy Hickman 14 Mar 2014 10:58am () in Smash the old images of a classroom with digital text


    You may also be interested in some of the Clicker Apps. Depending on the age of your student, their needs and their abilities, there are different levels that may be suitable for writing support. 

    Have a look at this video of Clicker Docs ($39.99 on the App store)

    See more on Clicker Apps Videos

    You may find Clicker Sentences more appropriate depending on your students needs. 

    Clicker Books is very similar to Book Creator, however it provides extra supports for students as they can access picture banks, word banks and voice over for the text they have typed. 

      Clicker Books App

    Image Source: http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/apps/clicker-apps/clicker-books.aspx

    These apps provide multiple options for expression and communication (Guideline 5) with the supports of predictive text, word banks, and students can listen to their work as they type or choose words. 

  • Roxy Hickman 14 Mar 2014 10:48am () in Translator/auto typing app?

    Hi Marnel, 

    You may be interested in Clicker Apps. Depending on the age of your student, their needs and their abilities, there are different levels that may be suitable for writing support. 

    Have a look at this video of Clicker Docs ($39.99 on the App store)


    For younger students you may find Clicker Sentences more appropriate.

    Clicker Books is very similar to Book Creator, however it provides extra supports for students as they can access picture banks, word banks and voice over for the text they have typed. 

    $40 may seem on the more expensive side, but Clicker has been around for years as a software programme and has a very good reputation. Also I am sure that it will support more than just the students with special education needs.

    You may also want to have a look at some of the discussions in the Universal Design for Learning Group

  • Roxy Hickman 14 Mar 2014 9:49am () in Literacy Apps

    When using digital text in your classroom, do you do anything to customize the display of information? (eg. font size, contrast between background colour and text, text to speech etc)

    What apps are you using to do this? How is it helping you and your students? 

  • Roxy Hickman 10 Mar 2014 9:19pm () in Smash the old images of a classroom with digital text

    Meryl, It also depends on what part of the writing process needs to be supported. 

    You may find the discussion on Examples of how various apps support UDL Guidelines useful. The series of videos featured in this thread help to make links between the UDL principles and some common apps that are being used in classrooms. They also share specific examples of how each app can be used with students.