In a time of Emergency Online Learning, the founding principles of UDL (Multiple Means of Representation, Engagement, and Action and Expression) provide solutions that are critical in an online environment.
Even though our conventional use of using UDL to design lesson plans has changed, there are guiding questions that educators use when designing conventional instruction that are still applicable and, perhaps, more critical in the online environment. Here are Guiding Questions to build out an (online or in-person) UDL Lesson Plan
How do we grow our practice as a virtual teacher? It starts by asking ourselves how we can continue delivering high-quality and flexible education that supports and challenges all learners in this time of distance learning.
A month by month guideline to implement (Universal Design for Learning) UDL in your first year in a leadership position
According to data in the U.S. Department of Education’s 40th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2018, pg 52), 63% of students with disabilities are spending at least 80% of their school day in an inclusive setting. This percentage is a huge improvement over decades past – when students with disabilities were most often segregated from their peers – but we can still do better. Moving to a more inclusive and equitable education system requires a thorough review of our existing structures, practices, and views to ensure it is done successfully. Educating
One of my best friends, Kate, regularly blesses us with drool-worthy confections worthy of winning fine arts awards. She is the ultimate expert baker. Every cupcake, cookie, and cake is perfection – moist, crunchy, chewy – and just as it should be in its perfect form. I, on the other hand, am no expert baker. My cookies are flat, my brownies are dry, and I only make cake from a box. I know why. It’s not worth the effort. I rarely measure with the precision baking requires. I don’t invest in high quality ingredients. I just don’t love sweets that
They didn’t build Rome in a day, and we certainly can’t educate our kids in a day. But all too often our systems limit professional development for teachers to a single intensive day on a new program, initiative, or framework. An intensive PD day shouldn’t be a single event, it should be part of a longer learning journey. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has taught us time and time again that it is not our students who are disabled – it is our curriculum, our assessments, and our systems that are disabling to our students. When we remove barriers to
Too many educators feel that their autonomy has been taken away by standards, scripted curriculum, and ultimately, standardized testing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We need our systems designed to meet the needs of our students, not a test, and give our teachers back the independence to proactively design lessons that engage and support all students. When we teach students to become expert learners who are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgable, and strategic and goal-directed – the goals of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – improved test results will come. Rigorous state-standards will be met. Students will
Take a moment to think back to one of your favorite classroom assignments growing up. What stood out about that assignment? I’ll take a shot in the dark and guess it wasn’t a 5 paragraph essay, multiple choice test, or a scripted lab report. So often, as teachers, it is easy to fall back to the traditional ways of teaching. With Universal Design for Learning, we can do better and empower our students to become expert learners. Implementing UDL takes relinquishing some control as a teacher and letting our students take the driver’s seat. With UDL, our job as teachers
Last summer, I had the privilege to speak to a room full of teachers about social justice, as the keynote speaker for the CAST Annual Symposium. The conference was focused on the themes of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework now endorsed by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and social justice: a perfect match. However, I struggled preparing for the presentation. I have always been on the more favorable side of opportunity and privilege. While I wasn’t raised wealthy, I am white, well-educated, and was born into a family that taught me how to be resourceful, gritty,