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Using Multiple Tools for Construction and Composition in Universal Design for Learning

Using multiple tools for construction and composition is a universal design for learning (UDL) guideline that supports multiple means of action and expression. The UDL guidelines were developed by an organization called CAST. This article will explore how teachers and other educators can encourage learners to express what they know using a variety of tools.

Using multiple tools for construction and composition in Universal Design for Learning

Some subjects require learners to use specific tools to express what they know. For example, computer science courses may require learners to become proficient using certain programs. In other words, teachers assess not only the content of learners’ assignments, but learners’ use of required tools. On the other hand, most subjects do not specify the tools learners must use to respond to assignments. For example, learners can use many tools in math, including:

  • Calculators
  • Graphing calculators or graph paper
  • Geometric sketchpads

In short, learners can use multiple tools to construct or compose their responses to assignments.

Teachers can introduce a variety of tools for learners to use. For example, teachers can provide tools for learners to outline concepts they intend to focus on, such as:

  • Story webs
  • Concept mapping tools
  • Outlining tools

Moreover, teachers can encourage learners to use tools for writing, including:

  • Spelling and grammar checkers
  • Word prediction software
  • Text-to-speech software
  • Dictation software
  • Sentence starters or sentence strips

In addition, teachers can show learners tools for web-based writing, including:

  • Wikis
  • Animations
  • Presentations

Furthermore, teachers can introduce learners to tools they can use to create different forms of notation, including:

  • Computer languages
  • Math
  • Music

Similarly, teachers can support learners using tools to represent or illustrate math concepts, such as:

  • Base-10 blocks
  • Algebra blocks

Teachers may not know about or have access to all of these tools. However, teachers should know that a variety of tools is available to complete almost any task, and encourage learners to explore use of multiple tools for construction and composition.