My battery indicator days I have less than an hour to work with here, so, let’s see if I make it through this session.
I am sitting in a packed house for “Beyond Print: Digital Curricula for the Diverse Classroom.”
As a new curriculum director of a K-12 online school, the digital curricula development question is an important one to me. Part of my experience with online learning involved programs that have tried to shoe-horn print content into a digital classroom.
I know it is popular to dog on textbooks as old school, but, for a variety of learners, carefully crafted content (either in its commercial or organic form) is an important tool to meeting students where they are. So, this is of interest to me.
Presenters are from CAST, which is a non-profit dedicated to instructional design and “Universal Design for Learning.”
Reframing Learning and Literacy: There are a number of dated notions what constitutes learning and literacy. For example, braille might not be considered “reading” the text because of the different modality of picking up the information.
Our whole educational system is built around how to remediate students who are struggling. Perhaps a more useful way of looking at this involved saying that both the learner has problems and the learning environment has problems.
It is important to build learning environments that are flexible in both directions.
Universal Design for Learning: UDL has three primary principals: What? How? Why? Details of this framework can be found here.
UDL editions: CAST project to create unique digital textbooks that are “smarter” digital content. They are available here. These are smart texts because they are:
- …able to read the text to the students.
- …able to translate individual words.
- …able to highlight and take notes.
- …able to integrate additional information.
The UDL editions are old school (2008). So, what do we know how about making these open, UDL editions to materials?
Use open, standard formats: avoid vendor lockin. Examples: HTML, ePub, DAISY.
NIMAS Format: http://aim.cast.org
XMLMind XML Editor is a useful editor for creating these types of resources.
CAST is working on an open source product that will allow teachers to create content that has best design practices built into the process.
What’s the impact of this shift?
- Creating reading materials at grade level, allowing for greater meaning to students
- Creating engagement for students that struggle with traditional literacy
Wow… great session and a lot to think about.
Here is my thinking:
- My teachers at MTDA will be designing a small number of courses in our initial year. It seems like if we start now looking at creating these “smart materials,” we can save the struggle of retrofitting the materials later.
- I wish there was a single or complete tool that we could use to design these materials. It looks like there are some tools in development, but, we aren’t there yet.
Wow… great session!