Universal Design with the Makey Makey

According to Rose and Gravel (2011), Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that addresses the primary barrier to fostering expert learners within instructional environments: inflexible, “one-size-fits-all” curricula (pg. 4).  Lessons need to be flexible to reach diverse learners with various needs.  The Universal Design Framework consists of three principles geared towards making lessons more universal for every type of learner.  They are:

  1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation
    • Students need to see the lesson design in various ways.
    • Examples of Multiple Means of Representation are: visuals through media, text to speech tool or using prompts to provide connections.
  2. Provide Multiple Means for Action and Expression
    • Learners should have the opportunity to display learning and comprehension using multiple forms of expression. If the student has only one way to answer the desired outcome, the student might be restricted in answering the question.
    • Examples of Multiple Means of Action are: using assistive technologies, scaffolding high level and low level instruction and vary ways the student can respond.
  3. Provide Multiple Means for Engagement
    • If the student is engaged with the lesson, it is more likely that the student will focus more on interacting with the lesson.
    • Examples of Multiple Means of Engagement are: increasing student interest with the lesson, student self-assessment and goal oriented lessons for increased effort.

Created with http://www.easel.ly/. Thank you Stephanie Alexander for the website.

This week in CEP 811 we were tasked with re-vamping our original Makey Makey lesson to fit the Universal Design Framework.  My original Makey Makey lesson targeted struggling speech learners and assisted communication by using larger foam letters to represent a keyboard.  My original lesson contained some guidelines embedded within the Universal Design Framework.  I used prompt with the student to reinforce comprehension.  I adjusted the document to a bigger font size for assistance with visual information.  Finally, I allowed for physical activity with lesson by having the student press the foam letters and making a game of it.

However that was it.  My lesson was interactive enough for students who operate on a normal functionality, but it did not reach any other type of learning disability or impairment.  The UDL Guidelines worksheet opened up my eyes on what my lesson was lacking.

My original lesson was the backbone of my new and improved lesson.  I focused on targeting multiple students and ways of learning.  I redesigned the lesson to meet all types of learners. My changes included:

  • Changed the foam letters to animals that began with the original letter to provide vocabulary connections and language understanding.
  •  Created a graphic organizer of desired word outcomes that the student and myself can use for a progress checklist.
  • Utilized the Read and Write Chrome extension so the student can hear what he/she typed.
  • Provided pre-lesson prompts and post-lesson refection with the student.

By making the changes above I created a lesson that would: clarify goals, use student self assessment, assist with visual and audio learning and increase comprehension. Now my redesigned lesson could reach more than just one type of learner.

UDL Lesson (2)

Re-Vamped Makey Makey Lesson

In re-working my Makey Makey Lesson I came to some conclusions:

1. Lessons need to be designed so that all learners have the opportunity to grasp the desired outcome.

2. Lessons must be designed to have multiples ways to interact with students so they all can feel comfortable learning and meeting the lesson goals.

This experience changed how I thought about the initial lesson creation. We are all unique and learn differently.  Creating lessons that support the Universal Design Framework not only supports the individual learner, but increases students’ interaction and engagement with education.

Updated video showing lesson


Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0). Wakefield, MA: CAST.org.


About Ashlie O'Connor

Wife, Mom, Educator, Enjoy every moment!

Posted on November 30, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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