UDL Spotlight

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PBS Nature: Engaging Learners Beyond the Four Walls

Posted by udlspotlight on March 10, 2009

Many of you have seen the weekly TV show Nature on PBS but have you have explored their free and “very UDL” companion website ? We have chosen their website on eagles as a model for this UDL Spotlight, but we urge you to explore any of the Nature series websites as an authentic way to engage learning beyond the four walls of your classroom or home.  

Watch A Video

In the video below, Yvonne Domings, a CAST Research Associate (and big fan of eagles) explains how the website offers users multiple ways to engage in and extend learning about eagles.

Highlights of how the eagle website aligns with the UDL Guidelines

Multiple Means of Representation Multiple Means of Action and Expression
Guideline 3: Provide options for comprehension

Background knowledge is activated in multiple ways – the interactive map provides historical context, the “behind the scenes with the filmmaker” section provides background on making the film.

Critical features are highlighted with links to key information about eagles (sibling rivalry, evolutionary ancestors), interactive map shows population change over time.

Guideline 5: Provide options for expressive skills and fluency

Users can communicate through blog-like comments, can log their own eagle sightings and upload pictures of sightings.

Guideline 8: Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence

Users can construct virtual communities of people with similar interests (log-in sightings, create and respond to comments in blog), fostering collaboration and communication.

Download a complete description of how the Nature website aligns with the UDL Guidelines.

We congratulate the PBS Nature website for the many options it offers its users to move beyond the traditional passive viewing of a TV show into the realm of active, engaged learning – “beyond the four walls.”  As Yvonne points out in her video overview, the website aligns with all three of the UDL Guideline principles, offering users multiple means of  representation, expression, and engagement.  Website users are offered multiple points of entry and ways to explore the rich content depending on area of interest.  We also found the multiple options for collaboration (e.g., posting and sharing via blog-like comments about eagle sightings, posting of photos) to be particularly engaging and effective — and in alignment with the UDL Guidelines.  Well done, Nature!

Visit the site, tell us which features you find most engaging in this “very UDL” website.


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