No doubt you’ve heard and seen the acronym UDL?
What is it?

Official Definition

Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone–not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

(CAST 2014)

UDL is NOT Special Education
It is intended to make learning engaging and accessible to ALL students in all classes.

How do we accomplish this?

  1. You take a close look at the barriers your students face as they access the curriculum. E.g. language, vocabulary, reading level.
  2. You plan your lessons integrating the three brain networks connected to learning.

In order to be UDL these 3 components must be incorporated into the learning experience.

Multiple ways of representation (presenting information) this offers learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge base. This can be done by incorporating visuals, video, examples from the world of the children.

Multiple means (ways) of expression and action which provide learners alternatives to demonstrate what they know. When you are crystal clear on the purpose of the lesson, these options are directly tied to that purpose. This can be done by allowing ALL students choices such as, alternatives to written output through the use of technology tools like PowerPoint slides, making video, posters, etc

Multiple means (ways) of engagement to tap into the learners’ interests, challenge them appropriately and motivate them to learn.   Allowing ALL learners’ choices, based on their interests.  ​Engagement is the essential ingredient throughout the learning process.

I Specialize in UDL Implementation.

If you are looking for a starting point for Universal Design for Learning, I’m happy to be your coach.

Implementing UDL is not a one or two shot training process. It requires systems change. Teachers need to truly shift the way they see their students, as learners and the way they see themselves, as facilitators of learning.

There are several very successful models. But, the most successful model for your district/school will be the one tailored to your school/district culture. I am your strategic partner, innovator and coach. I work with your team to plan and implement UDL (by whatever name you choose to call it) effectively.

Do it well and the results will be phenomenal, reduced referrals to special education, higher school attendance, and yes, improved test scores. Just as valuable you will have teachers who love teaching and students who love school & learning.

Let’s work together.  I will partner with you to support the planning and implementation process with flexibility and strategies.

Available Courses in UDL. All Courses are Available Virtually!

Universal Design for Learning FAQ

UDL is a way of teaching using the 3 principles of multiple ways of accessing & presenting information (representation), multiple ways of showing what is understood (expression) and multiple ways of staying connected to the content (engagement).  Really the What, Why, and the How of learning. My favorite introduction was created by Mindy Johnson @min_d_j   at CAST for an Open Online Learning Course a couple of years ago.

See video:

More about Mindy at CAST:

There are several different models that have been successful. One classroom can begin or grade level or school.

UDL: Moving from Exploration to Integration Paperback – August 1, 2017 by Elizabeth Berquist EdD (Editor), Nancy S Grasmick Ph.D (Foreword)

This book outlines how districts and states have implemented UDL. This is an ideal starting point as you explore the culture of your district.

UDL-IRN Annual Summit

March 25 & 26, 2019 Pre-conference   March 27-30, 2019 Full Summit
Join (free) to hear about webinars and the summit.

The Universal Design for Leaning-Implementation and Research Network is simply excellent. The pre-conference workshops are fabulous. The talks and sessions are all keyed into actual UDL implementation in schools nationally. It’s small enough to be able to speak to leaders in UDL during the conference. I really want to encourage California schools to present this year.

There are also regional events and webinars. Join this mailing list for weekly updates.

CAST annual UDL Symposium

Center for Applied Special Technology, now only referred to as CAST, truly the Mother Ship for Universal Design for Learning.
Boston area late July early August join their mailing list and explore their website as may opportunities to more fully understand UDL.

CAST also offers courses and resources galore on UDL.

Absolutely! Katie Novak who is a Rock Star in the UDL world has written several books as have others. UDL Now! Is a great starting point.

UDL Now!: A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms

Sep 1, 2016

by Katie Novak EdD and David H Rose Ed.D

Executive Functions are the advanced brain functions that humans possess. They are in the frontal lobe of the brain and help us with impulse control, monitoring our behavior, planning and organization. Executive Function Skills are critical for all new learning. To move new information into short term then long term storage (learning) students MUST use EF Skills. These skills are critical in every area of the curriculum.

UDL has always promoted including supports for executive functions however new research in Neuroscience and Learning supports building practice of EF Skills throughout the curriculum. You can definitely support EF skills without implementing UDL however EF skills are a major starting point.  Download Executive Functioning Flyer Here.
Kathy has wonderful technology ideas
Is a website from a school in Canada
Karen Janowski has been keeping this amazing blog up to date for a long time. It’s a huge help when looking for tools.

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