We explore the history of Universal design.
Timothy Nugent, Director of Rehabilitation at University of Illinois, worked with WWII veterans who came back from the war with less limbs than they went with. I think we can all agree, noble work. In 1949 he starts researching how we can make the world accessible to people that have disabilities. That same year, working with a student group from U of I he spear heads the first ever National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
At this point, if you aren’t impressed with Tim Nugent, you have no soul.
Selwyn Goldsmith wrote Designing for the Disabled and published in 1963. This text was and is considered ‘the bible’ for architecture with keeping in mind the needs of the disabled. Also a pretty cool guy.
These two fellows (along with lots of other people, I’m sure) made huge efforts towards a publication that was called American National Standard, A1171.1 . This would layout design standards that would be inclusive to people with disabilities.
Universal Design is built around seven principles and we can use these principle to include all different types of learners into our lessons and sessions.
1. Equitable Use – We should look at all of the differences in our classrooms in order to find out what we can do to make it equal. (learning style, personality, disability, etc) Perspective (ie. differences) are essential to breed new ideas.
2. Flexibility in Use – Are your activites usable for different learners? Find out where your learners pre-existing knowledge levels are. Utilize stronger, more advanced learners to help teach newer learners. Also allow different ways for a learner to show what they’ve learned.
3. Simple and Intuitive – Don’t make things complicated. Take out everything that isn’t essential to delivering your core method. Keep is simple (stupid…).
4. Perceptible Information – Highlight your main points first and foremost. Bullet points. Write it, show it, say it. That’ll repeat for all learners and has something that everyone.
5. Tolerance for error – Make your learning environment ‘screw-up friendly’. Facilitators need to get this going. Errors are learning opportunities. Humor helps.
6. Low Physical Effort – Don’t make extra work. What’s your room layout like.
7. Size and Space Approach to Use – Class room logistics is what I was looking at. Projector set-ups, desk layouts etc.
Do your best to include everyone. It’s kind of our job.
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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