Can you believe we are  back to school for over a month now? Hope you had a great summer, but now it is time to think about how to plan your lessons that will engage all of your students. How will you reach them all? Get out and use your "bag of tricks" because it is a Universal Design for Learning resource and you probably didn't even know you had it and were already doing it!  Redefining a lesson for UDL doesn’t require the latest iPad app or tools designed with accessibility in mind. Instead, educators like you have brainstormed ways to incorporate music, video, clay modeling, trips outdoors or tossing a ball around class alongside the apps and software they might typically use. The intention is to stimulate every type of learner, regardless of the individual support they might require. 
Try the UDL Activity to learn how to plan for all of your students.



 

         itslearning

New guide explains benefits of UDL as a framework for creating learning-driven environments and how districts can put theory into practice:The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for K-12 education specifically endorses Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a set of principles that require teachers and students to shift roles as they collaborate around student-driven learning paths. It’s a significant departure from the traditional classroom approach, and transforming a learning environment doesn’t happen overnight. To help schools navigate the sea of change to more personalized learning, itslearning, developer of the itslearning learning management system, has published a new guide titled How To Make Personalized Learning a Reality in Your District.” The 18-page PDF explains the stages and steps to creating a learner-driven environment powered by the UDL approach, how technology can support the integration, and questions to ask when considering which learning platform to choose. It likewise includes examples and tips from school districts that have successfully implemented a comprehensive plan to transition to student-driven learning.“How To Make Personalized Learning a Reality in Your District” begins by explaining the distinction between “personalized” and “individualized” learning, and the benefits of encouraging students to be co-designers of their own learning paths and curriculum. It discusses the UDL model of “access, engage, express,” and provides educators with a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meet the needs of all learners. Finally, it provides tips to transition UDL from theory to practice, and examples of how learning management systems such as itslearning can be used to provide a streamlined, user-friendly learning environment that simplifies student-centered learning.


________________________________________________________________________________  Our diverse classrooms are comprised of students with a wide range of abilities, learning preferences and interests. We are responsible for providing high quality instruction that enables all students to achieve high standards with curricula that may present unintentional roadblocks to instruction
For many educators, applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles is viewed as a philosophical approach for designing curriculum, shaping instruction, selecting instructional materials/technology, and developing assessments that provide greater access to learning for all students. Designing curriculum and instruction for diverse learners using the principles of UDL at the outset enhances the classroom environment and requires less retrofitting and adaptation by classroom teachers.
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What is UDL and how can it help you?
Universal Design for Learning or "UDL" was first developed in the 1990s by researchers at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). They define UDL as:
“…a research-based framework for designing curricula – that is educational goals, methods, materials and assessments – that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for learning. This is accomplished by simultaneously providing rich supports for learning and reducing barriers to the curriculum, while maintaining high achievement standards for all students.”
In this website, we will take a look at the research and theory behind UDL, and how UDL principles serve as a framework for designing educational environments that enable all learners to gain knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for learning. UDL does not suggest a single solution for everyone, instead it encourages multiple approaches to meet the varied needs of diverse learners. 
On the CAST website there already exists a wealth of information for you to access for assessing your current status of implementation of UDL and tools for applying UDL principles within the field of education. This site will also provide you with some examples of how you can use UDL principles in your classroom.
To get you started, here are several of the key elements of UDL:
A “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching simply does not work; every child – not just the students with disabilities – is different from another. Educators must adjust their curricula to fit their students and not ask their students to adjust to the curricula. It is not enough for students to have access to the classroom and the content available in the classroom; they must also have access to learning in the way that works best for them. Every child can learn and every child has the right to appropriate instruction.
As you explore CAST’s and this website you will gain an understanding that UDL builds upon the best practices of excellent teaching and enhances them so educators can reach every student.



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UDL at a Glance

See how UDL guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials that can be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs.


UDL AT A GLANCE

Universal design for learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Watch the video below to get an overview of UDL.