Video 9: Provide options for expression and communication

It is important for us to have different ways in which students can express themselves in the CS classroom. After all, encouraging students to express themselves and communicate is an important value in both CS education and Universal Design for Learning. Whenever possible, it is a good strategy to allow students to select ways to express their learning so that they can express what they truly know. Options can be given for types of projects, coding environments and project goals.  Ultimately you want to create opportunities for student voice and choice.

Strategies for providing options for expression and communication

  • Allow students to use multiple media to express their understanding. For instance, students could draw, write, or make a video about their program.
  • Encourage students to use multiple tools for construction and composition. For example, if students are using code journals, they should be allowed to use tools such as spelling and grammar checks.
  • Scaffold learning in ways that build computational fluency and skills over time. Using multiple entry points allows students to build skill levels; this allows them to progress at levels that will minimize frustration and help build confidence.

    Being able to effectively communicate what they have done allows students to be able to express their ideas and display their achievements and learning goals in ways that are meaningful to them. 

    Resources related to this guideline include:

    Note: We use CAST’s (2018) Version 2.2 of the Guidelines. The CAST link is similarly numbered. UDL for Teachers uses a previous version of the guidelines, so numbering and terms may vary.