UDL and the Low-Tech Classroom

Options for Supporting UDL in a Low Tech Classroom

The following table lists are intended to guide instruction using UDL principles without the aid of high level technology (i.e. low tech). Low tech may include items that are readily accessible in most classrooms and require minimal cost to produce.

PRINCIPLE 1- Multiple Means of Representation


Perception Language Comprehension
  • Large Print
  • Layout of visual information
  • Use lyrics
  • Visual Guide
  • Use of headphones
  • Provide manipulatives
  • Colored transparency overlays
  • Teacher or peer reads aloud
  • Present information at a slower rate
  • Allow options for classroom placement
  • Repeat 
  • Pre-teach vocabulary 
  • Emphasize key words 
  • Teacher or peer reads aloud 
  • Pre-teach vocabulary  
  • Use diagrams & graphs 
  • Flash cards with pictures and definitions 
  • Dual Language representation when applicable
  • Highlight key words  
  • Visual imagery 
  • Mnemonic strategies  
  • Sticky notes, templates, checklists, organizers 
  • Bridge prior knowledge with new concepts 
  • Offer relevant examples  
  • Prompts to draw attention to critical features 
  • Reduce irrelevant features  
  • Chunking information into smaller elements 
  • Explicit prompts to teach sequential information


PRINCIPLE 2- Multiple Means of Expression

                                                      Expression and Action

Expressive Skills &Fluency Physical Action Executive Functioning 
  • Templates
  • Word banks
  • Allow wait time
  • Compose in multiple media: text, speech, drawing, illustration, design
  • Use of physical manipulatives (blocks, 3D models)
  • Use of storyboards, comic strips
  • Music, visual art, sculpture
  • Calculators, geometric sketch pads.
  • Sentence starters, sentence strip
  • Story webs, outlining tools, concept - mapping tools
  • Physical and mnemonic scaffolds.
  • Procedural checklists
  • Provide differentiated models, mentors, feedback
  • Slanted surface to position books within a limited reach
  • Correct size desk and chair to facilitate upright posture
  • Allow options for classroom placement and positioning
  • PCS communication board
  • Dance/role playing
  • Single location voice output device
  • Provide alternatives for physically interacting with material (by hand, voice, single switch or joystick, keyboard)
  • Keyboard commands for mouse action
  • Data collection templates
  • Guides for note-taking
  • Frequent feedback
  • Graphic organizers and Checklists
  • Prompts and scaffolds to estimate effort, resources, and difficulty
  • Models or examples of the process and product of goal-setting
  • Guides for scaffolding goal-setting
  • Embedded prompts to stop and think before acting
  • Checklists and project-planning templates for setting up priorities, sequences and schedules of steps
  • Guides for breaking long-term goals into reachable, short-term objectives
  • Guided questions for self-monitoring
  • Before and after photos, graphs & charts showing progress over time
  • Templates that guide self-reflection on quality and completeness


PRINCIPLE 3 – Multiple Means of Engagement


Sustaining Effort and Persistence Self-Regulation Recruiting Interest 
  • Comfortable positioning
  • Movement breaks
  • Prompt to restate goal
  • Options for working in teams
  • Peer tutoring and support
  • Display concrete or symbolic version of goal
  • Divide long term goal in to short term objectives
  • Prompts or scaffolds for visualizing desired outcome
  • Student generated charts – rewards, reading, rules
  • Use of rubrics
  • Vary degree of difficulty/complexity of activities
  • Opportunities for collaboration
  • Vary degree of freedom for acceptable performance
  • Define roles and responsibilities for group members
  • Learner diaries
  • Goal-setting worksheets
  • Self-regulatory goals
  • Timers/rewards, positive feedback for staying on task
  • Increasing the length of on-task task orientation in the face of distractions
  • Models/scaffolds/feedback for managing frustration, seeking emotional support, coping skills
  • Give students choices relative to all aspects of lesson
  • Allow students to participate in the design of classroom activities and academic tasks
  • Involve students to set personal academic and behavioral goals
  • Use activities and information that is socially relevant and current
  • Vary activities to be relevant to age, race, gender etc
  • Provide tasks that allow for active participation, exploration and experimentation
  • Invite personal response, evaluation and self-reflection to content and activities
  • Use charts, schedules, cues  etc. that help predict activities and transitions
  • Use alerts/cues for transitions between activities
  • Offer options to introduce surprises/unpredictable activities
  • Vary level of sensory stimulation (use workstations, headphones etc)
  • Vary work pace, breaks, sequence etc
  • Vary options for public display of presentations, evaluation etc


Example of Technology-Less Lesson

Many teachers who are attracted to UDL as an idea are unsure whether they can actually imple­ment it in view of their limited access to technology or their limited fluency in its use. This paper examines the question of whether technology is central to the foundations of UDL or whether UDL is useful as a pedagogical framework that goes beyond technology.

Based upon a lesson that is famil­iar to most elementary school teachers, the following paper from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning, uses the UDL guidelines as a structural framework through which to examine these questions.

Nov 5, 2012, 9:06 AM