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UDL the easiest way to cut your planning and improve outcomes for ALL your learners

Universal Design for Learning

        AT was first defined in the mid-1980s in the federal Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (Tech Act) as: 

"Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of people with disabilities."

         UDL was originally introduced for designing architecture.  The idea of curb cuts was originated from this concept.  It made sidewalks and street crossings accessible to people in wheelchairs, but also assisted in helping people riding bikes, pushing strollers, or rollerblading.  The idea that this change or  modified everyday item can now be used inclusively is exceptional.  Many parents shy away from technologies that may cause their student to stand out or be identified as special needs.  The use of UDL in classrooms is incredibly inclusive.  This also encourages children to become more self aware and learn what works for them.  As adults, it is likely that you have developed tactics to help you complete your work or that you used in school for studying.  By using UDL practices and concepts, students will be encouraged to develop these strategies on their own and also use those that are provided.  Instruction in the classroom that utilizes the ideas of UDL is inclusive and adaptable.  No student should be singled out for needing information presented in a different way.   This can be used with small things such as allowing students to choose what type of paper to write on, or choosing to use counting blocks in math or a number line.  ALL resources should be available at all times and the lesson should be done with considerations of being all inclusive.  Below, we have shared the guidelines when considering Universal Design for Learning.  Your child’s teacher should already be aware of these concepts and processes, but we want to provide a resource for parents to understand the reasons behind certain decisions regarding their child.  
        For additional information and a more expansive description of UDL and all of the benefits, please read this attached article.  It is a great starting point for parents to see and learn about Universal Design for Learning and find out ways to implement the concepts at home, at school, and in your child's everyday life.  
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Okolo, C. (2012). AT and UDL: key ideas.  Angel Online Module.  Retrieved December 1, 2012.
 

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CAST UDL Lesson Builder

This is a great resource for teachers who are trying to create UDL lesson plans. This website explains what UDL is, gives examples of lesson plans with UDL incorporated in them, and it has space for you to create and edit your UDL lesson plans. To use this site you do need to create a user name and password however it is free! This site also gives you the availability to save some of the lesson plan examples it provides to your own "library." This is one of the most important features of the site because it allows refer back to lesson plans you like and have used in the past.
 

 

UDL in Action          

      This website provides video tutorials that demonstrate and explain the concept of Universal Design for Learning.  This can be used as a resource for educators, but we thought it would be helpful to see the concept in action to develop a better understanding, or even spark further questions and inquiry.  This website provides videos and sample lessons for first grade through sixth grade.  Much of this material can also be adapted to assist with older children as well. 
 
 

 

UDL Benefits

This video has lots of benefits of UDL and visits Colorado State University to interview students who look at multiple ways to look at the information while engaging it in learning.