What is Universal Design for Learning?

Universal Design for Learning

Welcome to “Ask the Tech Coach,” a podcast for Instructional Coaches and Technology Integration Specialists.

In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” Jeff welcomes Instructional Coach Brenny Kummer on the podcast to discuss how Universal Design for Learning can be deployed in your school district.

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Question of the Week

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on our live chat, on social media, and in our comments section.

This week’s question is:

What is Universal Design and how can it be used to support digital learning in the classroom?

Weekly Topic

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

  • Based upon brain research at Harvard by org
  • Promotes inclusive, accessible design for ALL
  • The learning environment is what you focus on changing, improving to champion variability and diversity by providing options to remove barriers

UDL in environment design – for all learners – including adult learners

  • Consider your learning goals
  • Consider what barriers may exist in reaching these goals
    • Barriers = External aspects in the learning environment that may hinder learning. Examples: Time, pace, format of training, format of training materials
    • Variability= Internal characteristics; what makes our learners unique; we can’t necessary change variability, but can celebrate it by removing barriers!
  • Consider what options can be provided to help remove learning barriers (use the UDL guidelines as a reference)
    • Barriers to engagement: unsure of learning goal, little personal relevance, options/choice, self-reflection/assessment
      • UDL design solutions: Share instructional/coaching goals, provide choice in the trainings (options in training materials, modality, such as paper and online materials or self-paced vs. Guided), exit ticket reflections
    • Barriers to representation: format of training materials, option to do guided practice
      • UDL design solutions: Accessible design of resources (closed captions, alt tagged, images, etc.), options in training materials/resources (video, text, images), provide option for guided practice/application of content
    • Barriers to action, expression: format of interactivity in training sessions, reflection opportunities
      • UDL design solutions: Guided/scaffolded practice in the training, hands-on opportunities vs. Only sit and get, provide different ways for staff to interact with one another and the content in the training session (online chat boards, in person conversation, digital and online spaces)
    • Reflect, redesign, reiterate!

Links of Interest on UDL

About our Guest

Brenny Kummer

Brenny Kummer is the Assistant Director of Educational Technology for Bartholomew Consolidated Schools in Columbus, Indiana. She is a former middle and high school social studies teacher, graduate of the University of Arkansas Educational Technology Master’s program, and University of Arkansas Educational Tech student of the year in 2022. In her role, she serves as the sole tech coach for her district, trains staff on how to use UDL (Universal Design for Learning) to guide technology integration, supports assistive technologies across the district, and coordinates eLearning. She is a Google domain administrator, Google certified trainer, and LMS system administrator. Brenny has a passion for UDL and experience teaching in a full inclusion setting. She seeks to dismantle learning barriers through technology and provide accessible, inclusive learning environments for all learners. She has presentation experience at various levels: Indiana PATINS Access to Education conference, Indiana HECC conference, Indiana Connected Educators Conference, ISTE, IMS Global, UDL-IRN international summit, UDL-IRN Great Lakes, UDL-CAST events, and COSN diversity and inclusion panels.

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