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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6714 Reflection on Assessing My Students' Learning

Being a special education teacher I am all about individualizing, customizing, and differentiating amongst my special education students. With this said, the growth, knowledge, and enrichment which resulted from this course not only helped me grow as a professional, but will have a direct positive impact on my students. This course has coherently demonstrated how to integrate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in conjunction with Differentiated Instruction (DI). As I begin my plans for the next school year, I will begin including both UDL and DI. Surveys were one of the main focuses throughout the last several weeks, in which I am very grateful. I have never used formal surveys with my students. Typically, I would gather the same information from my students (their interests, learning styles and profiles), but through observations and conversations. Surveying my students will become more time efficient and less subjective with more consistent results. This will definitely be an easier way to survey. Also the information will already be documented for referencing quickly when needed. Another important aspect of the student surveys this course examined was using the information for the purpose of grouping students. With this newfound knowledge, I will now be able to customize groups more accurately due to UDL and DI, which will also allow their diverse levels and learning styles to be met. Additionally, my students will be able to choose from different ways they want to present their knowledge.

Because of our collaborative groups, I have gathered a plethora of sites, which will be related to my lessons, resulting in creating a hook to captivate my students and further provide an enriched learning experience. My curriculum has received an enormous boost by utilizing technology due to what I have learned from this course, instructor and colleagues. During this course, evaluation of student learning was also aided with technology, proving how important and simple technology is to incorporate. The opportunity for me to add technology within DI, are vast and endless and doesn’t require creating individual lesson plans for each student. Remembering how important it is for students to retrieve their prior knowledge, experience new information, and then be able to transfer this to the next level, was reiterated in this course.

After giving much thought and reflection, the technology I have learned through this class will immensely benefit my students. I cannot wait to partner my teachings with the various technology tools while watching my students have fun learning and preparing for the 21st century.