Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 14



Final Assignment #2

Integrating SMART Board Technology into classroom practice with the

Principles of Universal Design for Learning:

A Research Proposal

Word Count: 2000

Camille Maydonik


ETEC 500 Research Methodologies in Education

Instructor: Dr. Clifford Falk

University of British Columbia

August 14, 2010



I am interested in researching if the use of SMART Board technology is more or

less beneficial than traditional literacy center activities to meet the principles of Universal

Design for Learning (UDL) in a grade one program. My interest in this area stems from

studying UDL for the past two years in the school where I teach. UDL is a topic at the

forefront of my school district, as we are focused on the personalization of student

learning. Furthermore, my school is currently in the process of installing SMART

Boards in every classroom in order to facilitate the implementation of the principles of

UDL in classroom practice. A SMART Board is also known as an interactive whiteboard

(IWB) and is a screen that has a touch-sensitive surface that works in conjunction with a

computer and a projector.

During the course of my graduate studies, I have delved into UDL more deeply

than other teachers at my school as I was presented with many projects and assignments

where I could research UDL. During the 2009-2010 school year, I was one of three

classroom teachers who had a SMART Board in the classroom. Through my trials using

the SMART Board with my grade one students during literacy centers, I developed an

interest in how I can best integrate the SMART Board into my literacy center design in

order to fulfill the principles of UDL and as a tool to deliver the curriculum.

Statement of the Problem and Research Question

The UDL framework proposes that educators strive for three kinds of flexibility:

(a) representation, to represent information in multiple formats and media, (b) expression,

to provide multiple pathways for students action and expression, and (c) engagement, to

provide multiple ways to engage students’ interest and motivation. Educators work

towards flexibility by identifying and removing barriers from their teaching methods and



curriculum materials. The three UDL principles, implemented with new media, can help

educators improve how they set goals, personalize instruction, and assess student

progress. (Rose & Meyer, 2002)

Although many teachers have a good understanding of the principles of UDL,

they do not have a satisfactory understanding of lesson design and activities that they

could implement in their classroom in order to meet the diverse needs of their students.

This research study is an action research and the teachers involved in this qualitative

study will explore the SMART Board using the principles of UDL and will develop

literacy centers, both traditional and with the SMART Board, as a team. The research

question that this action research will answer is: “Does using the SMART Board to

implement UDL principles in classroom practice support student learning?” More and

more schools are installing SMART Boards into classrooms, under the assumption that a

SMART Board is an excellent tool to support every student’s learning, sometimes

forgoing other strategies and tools that could be beneficial.

Literature Review

Most of the literature available on the topic of UDL is narrative and informative

with very few quantitative research articles. The main focus of these articles is inclusion

and building capacity. Glass, Palmer Wolf, Molloy, Rodriguez, Horowitz & Burnaford

(2008) present the following assumptions about inclusion and UDL. Grounding Glass et

al. (2008) is their statement that “a disability occurs at the interface between an individual

and a setting” (p. 4). In their explanation of UDL, Glass et al. (2008) explain that,

“digital learning environments have helped other populations as well, such as reluctant

readers and English-language learners” (p.6). Abell (2006) echoes this sentiment as he



describes that UDL is a channel through which “students and teachers can access the type

of information that meets their needs and the cognitive level of students while

challenging and guiding them through the learning process” (p. 11). Although

technology is used widely in UDL classrooms, Clark (as cited in Abell, 2006, p.15) is

careful to point out that “technology or media is not the driving force behind learning; it

is the content that is presented through the media itself.” In fact, technology does not

always need to be present in the classroom to successfully implement UDL.

As more and more educators implement the principles of UDL in their

classrooms, many are choosing digital media to differentiate for their students.

Therefore, “an educator will need to be computer literate, knowledgeable about current

technology, and aware of the learners’ specific assistive technology needs” (CAST, 2007;

Resta, Bryant, Lock, & Allan, 1998 as cited in Zascavage & Winterman, 2009). When

considering the use of digital media in the classroom, the educator must consider and “be

aware of environmental issues such as noise, distraction, or potential academic

compromises” (Zascavage & Winterman, 2009) that the media will bring to the

classroom as the decision to implement digital media into the classroom will affect all

students in the class, regardless of ability or disability.

The Upper Canada District School Board (2010) investigated the use of SMART

Boards integrated with assistive software within the framework of UDL. The purpose of

their action research was to discover “how teachers’ adoption of technology evolves

along with their beliefs about inclusion and their teaching practices with respect to

participation and inclusion for all students” (Upper Canada District School Board, 2010,




The achievement and participation of 16 students who were indentified as having

special needs was tracked and questionnaires were completed by teachers and students

proceeding and after the research study. Notable findings from the study indicate that all

students in the classrooms were highly engaged with use of the SMART Board and

assistive software. Furthermore, the students with special needs were found to be more

engaged and participated more with their peers. Also, teachers felt that the students with

special needs were meeting their Individual Education Program (IEP) goals sooner than


Campbell and Mechling (2009) present an investigation of observational and

incidental learning of nontarget information in their research “Small Group Computer-

Assisted Instruction with SMART Board Technology”. This research focuses on the

effectiveness of teaching letter sounds to a small group of three students with learning

disabilities using computer-assisted instruction with SMART Board technology. This

experimental, quantitative research study was carried out flawlessly, accounting for all

threats to internal and external validity.

The researchers selected three kindergarten students (two males and one female)

with learning disabilities based on their IEP. Although this selection was not random, the

researchers accounted for this threat by having the participants serve as their own

controls. The researchers used the SMART Board in combination with an interactive

slide show that the students were able to access and control by pressing on the touch-

sensitive surface of the SMART Board.

The results of the study are supportive for teaching letter sounds to the students

identified as having learning disabilities. This study does not have any notable threats to



validity and is an important contribution to the field of education and technology as it can

be generalized to other student populations to assist teachers in personalizing learning. In

my grade one classroom, I have personally witnessed students acquiring target and

nontarget information and knowledge by working in small groups of two at the SMART


A central theme that emerges is that incorporating the principles of UDL benefits

all students, with or without exceptionalities. The studies (Campbell & Mechling, 2009;

Upper Canada District School Board, 2010) show that students in a UDL classroom

environment experience heightened engagement with the material. That being said, it is

also evident from this literature review that designing learning activities based on the

principles of UDL does not necessarily mean that technology or digital media is involved.

(Browder et al., 2009)

The research studies pertaining specifically to SMART Boards (Campbell &

Mechling, 2009; Upper Canada District School Board, 2010) share the theme of

providing students with a flexible environment for representation and expression of their

learning, which has shown to improve student learning.



Participants will consist of the students in three, grade one French Immersion

classrooms located in the same school in Calgary, Alberta. Enrolment for the 2010-2011

school year is projected to be 20 students in each classroom. Two of the classrooms have

one homeroom teacher, while the third has two homeroom teachers who job share.




All three, grade one, French Immersion classrooms are equipped with a SMART

Board, a laptop computer with Notebook software and all necessary materials to prepare

traditional literacy centers. All four teachers are familiar with Notebook software, which

is the software used in conjunction with the SMART Board to create lessons. Although

the teaching experience of all four teachers varies, all four have experience in the

development and creation of traditional literacy centers.


Beginning in September 2010, teachers will work together during team planning

time to design literacy centers based on the principles of UDL. Teachers will design

centers for the SMART Board as well as traditional learning centers. Planning will

continue until the holiday break in December 2010. Also during this time period,

teachers will be working on individual student profiles in order to understand the

qualities, including strengths, needs, and interests, that students bring to the curriculum.

Teachers will use the UDL Class Learning Profile Template to profile students (see

Appendix A).

In January 2011, the students will be introduced to the literacy centers. In order

for students to fully understand the learning goals of the centers and their responsibilities,

it is to the teachers’ advantage to introduce one or two centers maximum at a time. Once

students have a clear understanding of the procedures and processes during literacy center

time, students will participate in the literacy centers 30 minutes a day. Students will refer

to a pocket chart to know which centers they should be working in on a given day.

Students will use the SMART Board in groups of 2 when they are assigned to that center.



Each student will use the SMART Board every fifth school day, as this is what the

schedule will allow. All students will be required to fill out an accountability chart (see

Appendix B) in order to demonstrate what they accomplished in the literacy centers each

day. This action research will continue until the end of May 2011.

Data Collection and Analysis

Teachers will use the UDL Class Learning Profile Template to establish

individual student profiles. These profiles will serve as the control. On a weekly basis,

teachers will assess student learning through the correction of student work and by

analyzing the student accountability chart. As such, teachers will be able to qualitatively

analyze if using the SMART Board to implement UDL principles in classroom practice

supports students learning more, less or equal to traditional literacy centers.

Timeline. The proposed action research will follow the schedule in Table 1.

Ethical Considerations

The teacher researchers in this action research project will strictly adhere to the

Calgary Board of Education’s Administrative Regulation 1064 – Recording and

Publishing Student Images and Work. The purpose of this regulation is to permit

photographs and other recordings of Calgary Board of Education students and student

work as part of, or as supplement to, the educational program, while ensuring that the

personal privacy of students, teachers and other staff members is respected. The parent

or guardian of the participant will be required to sign the Consent to Post or Publish

Student Information and Work prior to the commencement of this action research project

that will be distributed by the teacher researchers.



Table 1

Timeline of Proposed Research


Data Collection Method

September 2010

December 2010

January 2011

Teachers will work together during

team planning time to design

literacy centers based on the

principles of UDL.

Teachers will work on individual

student profiles (see Appendix A).

Students will be introduced to the

literacy centers (January) and will

May 2011

be required to use an accountability

chart (see Appendix B).

On a weekly basis, teachers will

assess student learning to

qualitatively analyze the research

question: “Does using the SMART

Board to implement UDL principles

in classroom practice support

June 2011

Teachers will present their findings

to the administration.



Significance of proposed research

Due to the nature of the proposed action research, teachers will be encouraged to

plan as a team and gain a better understanding of how to design learning opportunities in

a UDL classroom through this collaboration. Furthermore, teachers will understand how

to select appropriate tools, including the SMART Board to support student learning by

providing a more flexible learning environment. As shown in the research, students in a

UDL classroom experience heightened engagement with the material. Furthermore, the

results of this action research could be used to secure funding for tools such as the

SMART Board.




Abell, M. (2006). Individualizing learning using intelligent technology and universally

designed curriculum. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 5(3).

Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ843849)

Browder, D., Mims, P., Spooner, F., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., & Lee, A. (2008). Teaching

elementary students with multiple disabilities to participate in shared stories.

Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities (RPSD), 33(1-2), 3-

12. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ838735)

Campbell, M.L., & Mechling, L.C. (2009). Small group computer-assisted instruction

with SMART Board technology: An investigation of observational and incidental

learning of nontarget information. Remedial and Special Education, 30(1), 47-57.

Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ823212)

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). (2007). What is universal design for

learning? Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/research/udl/index.html

Glass, D., Palmer Wolf, D., Molloy, T., Rodriguez, A., Horowitz, R., Burnaford, G., et al.

(2008). The contours of inclusion: Frameworks and tools for evaluating arts in

education. Online Submission, Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED507539)

Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the Digital Age: Universal

design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum

Development (ASCD). Retrieved from


Upper Canada District School Board. (2010). Smart in the 21 st century classroom:

Integrating SMART Boards with assistive technology. Retrieved from





Zascavage, V., & Winterman, K. (2009). What middle school educators should know

about assistive technology and universal design for learning. Middle School

Journal, 40(4), 46-52. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ833643)



Appendix A

UDL Class Learning Profile Template

Student Learning Profile






Preferences /


Recognition (Learning “what”)

Strategy (Learning “how”)

Affect (Learning “why”)



Week Of

Literacy Center

Appendix B


What I Did…

1. Listening Station 2. Writing Station 3. Classroom Library 4. Big Book Station 5. Making
Listening Station
Writing Station
Classroom Library
Big Book Station
Making Words Station
SMART Board Station
Read Around The Room
Creation Station
Word Game Station
Reader ʼ s Theater
Spelling Station