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Introductory Scenario

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Imagine that you are traveling by air in one, and then another, foreign country. You have just arrived at the airport terminal in the country you are now leaving. You have two carry-on bags—wheelie suitcases and a backpack.

 
Terminal 1: A Series of Challenges

In the first scenario, the traveler faces a series of challenges right from the airport entrance. 

Opening heavy doors, deciphering foreign language signs, and grappling with unclear queues at the ticket counter set the stage for a less-than-optimal experience. The absence of clear directions and the frustration of encountering unwarranted obstacles create an atmosphere of uncertainty.

 

Terminal 2: A Seamless Journey

The second terminal exemplifies a traveler-centric design. A rack of color-coded maps, each catering to different languages, offers clear guidance upon arrival. Visual cues, such as extra-wide lanes on moving sidewalks and complimentary luggage carts, contribute to an intuitive journey. The availability of multilingual information further enhances accessibility, ensuring a smoother experience.

This narrative describes the contrasting experiences encountered at two airport terminals, shedding light on the importance of design principles that enhance accessibility and user experienced.   As you read it think about how schools need to design their instruction and environments to enhance accessbility and student experience. 

Take Notes

  1. What do you see as the differences between the two terminals? [Assume that both are in countries that attract tourists and business travelers from many nations.]
  2. Which of the terminals uses tools that are simple and intuitive to use? What clues from the story support your answer?
  3. In which of the two terminals do you think you’d feel more comfortable? Why?
  4. In which terminal do passenger-assistance arrangements seem more equitable? Why?
  5. Could you draw parallels between the two terminals and classrooms you have observed or worked in?

As we explore these airport experiences, the underlying theme emerges—

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): 

An approach that works to accommodate the needs and abilities of all people and eliminates unnecessary hurdles in the experience and process. 

Terminal 2 exemplifies UDL principles, emphasizing simplicity, clarity, and inclusivity all in the name of making the airport more accessible for all people who enter it. 

 This narrative sets the stage for a deeper analysis, encouraging readers to consider parallels between airport terminals and the classrooms they have observed or worked in. How do schools emphasize simplicity, clarity, and inclusivity.  In the realm of education, adopting UDL can similarly transform learning environments, making them more accessible and engaging for all.

 

Module: Helping with Instruction

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