Images and UDL

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 3/3/2017 7:00:00 AM

Interpreting images is complex, and not everyone sees things in the same way. Because different visual features are processed in different parts of the brain, some aspects of images can be accessible to an observer, while others may not. Within the recognition networks, multiple areas of the brain are used, and the overall idea that is being communicated can be difficult for some.

Students can be distracted when processing text, causing them to focus on the unimportant elements. Strategic networks help viewers determine what is important and focus attention on that image. The more complicated the concepts, the more demands requiring skilled interpretation based on the knowledge of where something is placed on a page or drawing attention to something. Within the affective networks, the detachment of an image may not engage a student to look closely and feel the image’s emotional content.

Up to this point, our look at media has been through the traditional mode of media. It’s now time to move into the power of digital media and how that can impact your students and your lessons. Digital media offers so many more features to meet individual student needs. Digital media is versatile, transformable, can be marked and can be networked. Let’s look at each one.

The versatility of digital media allows for speech, video and text. Depending upon the various challenges for students, any combination of the formatting can be used. Once this has been determined, then the same material can be changed by appearance of text or images, adjusting the volume, turning off or on graphics, etc. The adjustments to the student does not change the overall information, just how it is presented. A newer concept in digital media is the hypertext markup language (HTML) coding for constructing web pages. This allows the user to create title, subheadings or specific parts of the body of material they are reading. This also allows the teacher and student to alter content to accommodate needs or preferences. Teachers have the ability to use the same material that they have chosen, but mark it in different ways for different students. It allows marking and unmarking several times.

The last way of using digital media, is through networking. Available within a touch of a keystroke is a dictionary/thesaurus, organizers, electronic notepads. Gone are the days when things need to be supplemented separately from the actual work area; everything is there if you need it. Ultimately, the use of the new media available to teachers and students will benefit everyone. Practice using and understanding media is the first step to integrating media into the curriculum, thereby engaging diverse learners. and moving us into the Universal Design for Learning, UDL.

Michele Neumann  Michelle Neumann, Assistant Director