June 26, 2012
Tel: 781-245-2212 ext. 279
Open-source tool will aid development of more accessible, engaging curriculum
CAST today announced the release of the UDL Curriculum Toolkit, a free web-based tool to help curriculum developers and researchers author and publish educational materials that are flexible and responsive to the needs of all learners.
The UDL Curriculum Toolkit leverages two decades of research in universal design for learning (UDL), insights from modern neuroscience, and flexible new media and technologies.
Developed by CAST—in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the Education Development Center, and with funding from the National Science Foundation—the UDL Curriculum Toolkit is available online at http://udl-toolkit.cast.org.
The UDL Curriculum Toolkit scaffolds the design of student-friendly features, such as:
- Highlights and Big Ideas call-outs to help learners identify and grasp core concepts
- Get Started and Check My Work features to assist students in thinking about and responding to questions embedded in the curriculum;
- Notebook, My Notes, My Questions, and My Tags features that help students organize their thoughts, develop understandings, and create original questions
Users can also build in opportunities for students to share ideas with each other via an interactive Whiteboard, obtain rapid feedback from teachers in Multimedia Response Areas, and provide feedback to teachers with a Rate It feature.
Curriculum developers and other users are tutored in how to author using XML Mind and have access to exemplars, the extensive UDL Guidelines, and other features to support them in the authoring process.
"The Toolkit enables publishing curriculum for large-scale use, either commercially or as an open education resource," says Boris Goldowsky, PhD, CAST Director of Technology and Co-Principal Investigator on the project. "It is also very customizable. And since the software is free and open source, it can be extended and improved by its users as well. We plan to continue adding to and improving the Toolkit over the coming years, and encourage anyone interested in curriculum design and educational research to collaborate with us in making it better."
Adds Project Director and CAST Senior Research Scientist Gabrielle Rappolt-Schlichtmann, EdD: "Curriculum developers and researchers can use the UDL Curriculum Toolkit to test the leading edge of learning design on the web."
Curriculum designers who use the Toolkit will anticipate and eliminate barriers to learning by following the three UDL principles of providing learners with multiple ways to 1) engage and persist in learning, 2) approach learning tasks and express what they know, and 3) access educational content.
CAST is a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand educational opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. To learn more, go to www.cast.org.