Learning about UDL

In the learning competency, I plan to learn about UDL or Universal Design for Learning. So I signed up for a workshop at MACUL to learn more about it. Here are my notes. 

This afternoon I’m participating in David Grapka’s workshop titled Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is Like Differentiated Instruction (DI) on Steroids!

What makes a UDL classroom? Having a welcoming environment. How do we advocate for all children? The way he modeled that is giving us his cell phone so we could text him questions!

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible”. Theodore Roethke

A vision of students today (scroll down) from Kansas State University. Look at their other videos too.  What resonated with you most as an educator and consumer?

For the rookies on UDL: Center for Applied Special Technology is THE place to learn about UDL. These videos explain UDL. After each video, David asked us what resonated with us.

Books mentioned:

UDL principle: Creating environments that work well for students with disabilities makes the environments work for everyone. Teachers rethink goals, methods and assessments.

From my seatmate, Cathy: Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age.

Example – a curb cut started out as an accommodation for wheelchairs, but skateboarders use it, people with strollers, luggage, etc. It helps everyone.

The handouts have a PowerPoint that compares UDL and assistive technology.

RTI: Regular Teacher Involvement; a whole school initiative

Brain Research video – three networks for learning – recognition networks (what), strategic networks (how), affective networks (why). Everybody learns differently.

UDL curriculum: multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, multiple means of engagement, flexible tools, teaching methods and assessment.

He played each video twice! It was great because you got something new the next time around.  

There’s a serious disconnect between mandated state testing and new research on student learning and teaching.  Tomorrow David is addressing this in his 4 p.m. session.


After the break we looked at TRECenter.org Practices. This is what David does in New York. These materials can help you design your own UDL lesson plans.

How is a UDL lesson different than any other lesson plan? What I noticed includes:

  • The planning pyramid has “all students will…” “most students will…” “some students will…” “some other students will”
  • The unit includes modifications for meeting academic diversity.

This is a template for a UDL lesson/unit plan.

We did an activity using these sites:

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