Last week my colleague Margaret forwarded me an email from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). As the website states, the mission of CAST is “to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.”
I am a big fan of the UDL Editions by CAST. Universal Design for Learning Editions are online stories that incorporate multimedia scaffolds to help budding readers develop important comprehension skills such as the ability to predict, understand metaphors, etc.
Take a look at the story How the Coyote Stole Fire. Notice how CAST has created animated animal reading coaches that pop up to help children read and understand various sections of the book. In addition, readers and teachers can determine the level of scaffolding appropriate before beginning the text. The following bullets describe the scaffold settings available for this story:
- Maximum support-“Stop and Think” prompts are multiple choice. Highlighting critical features, models, and hints available. Immediate feedback on responses.
- Moderate support- “Stop and Think” prompts elicit constructed responses and text revisions to explore author’s craft. Highlighting critical features, models, and hints available. Immediate feedback on text revisions only.
- Minimal support- “Stop and Think” prompts offer strategy choice and open responses. Students are guided to highlight and collect key elements in the text, thus actively highilghting critical features for themselves.