Improving Educational Participation and Outcomes for ALL Students

Improving Educational Participation and
Outcomes for ALL Students with
Universal Design for Learning
and–for some–Special Education Services
Joy Smiley Zabala, Ed.D., ATP
Director of Technical Assistance
CAST and the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials
Goals of this session…
To increase awareness of UDL as a means
to shape learning environments that
address the variability of ALL learners,
including students with intensive support
To underscore the importance of
individualized supports (e.g. AT, AIM) for
some students
Biggest Idea …
Making the Most of
the “Other” 175 Days
Big Ideas …
Universal Design for Learning as the
Foundational Approach for All
Special Education Supports needed
by Some
Resources and Connections
Curriculum-Centered UDL
UDL is a curricular initiative that seeks to
decrease unacceptable challenge
while maintaining acceptable challenge
and high expectations
UDL is framework for proactively designing
learning experiences – from the beginning – that
address grade level standards in ways that enable
all students to gain knowledge, skills,
and enthusiasm for learning.
Principles of UDL
UDL calls for ...
 Multiple means of representation, to give learners
various ways of acquiring information and knowledge
 Multiple means of expression, to provide learners
alternatives for demonstrating what they know
 Multiple means of engagement, to tap into
learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and
increase motivation.
Universal Design for Learning
 Supports the design and implementation of a
flexible, responsive curriculum that provides
opportunities for the participation and
achievement of all students
 Provides flexibility in the ways information is
presented, the ways students respond or
demonstrate knowledge and skills and the ways
students are engaged
Universal Design for Learning
 Reduces unnecessary barriers in instruction and
 Provides appropriate accommodations, supports,
and challenges
 Maintains high achievement expectations for all
 Assumes variability
“Myth of the Average”
Todd Rose
Four Curriculum Pillars
Firm Goals, Flexible Means
• Clearly identified
• Do NOT embed the
means unnecessarily
• Allow multiple paths to
• Progress Monitoring
• Formative Assessment
• Clearly articulated
• Construct validity
• Accessibility
Varied Methodolgy
Graduated Scaffolding
• Appropriate Supports
and Services
Emphasis on
Flexible, Transformable Digital Media
BUT… digital media does not equal UDL
and digital does not necessarily equal accessible!
Technologies and How they Fit
Universally Designed Technologies
Are designed and developed to be directly
usable (without the need for adaptation or
assistive technology)
• Are designed and developed in ways that can
be made usable with assistive technologies
• Typically include lots of options that can be
readily manipulated to meet the needs of a
variety of users
Some people STILL think of UDL as a technology
initiative or just for students with disabilities or
intensive support needs.
Some people think UDL is NOT students with
disabilities or intensive support needs.
UDL lowers barriers for most, but studentcentered supports and services are needed
by some to participate and achieve.
UDL seeks to make the learning environment as
flexible and accommodating as possible.
Special Education provides supports and services
required by individual students
based on their unique needs.
Special Education Supports
• Specially designed instruction
• Accommodations and Modifications
• Related Services and Supports
Connecting UDL and AT
• Assistive technology device means any
item, piece of equipment, or product
system...that is used to increase,
maintain, or improve the functional
capabilities of a child with a disability.
Connecting UDL and AT
• Assistive Technology looks at the specific
barriers a student may face in whatever
environment they find themselves.
• Universal Design looks to make the learning
environment as flexible and accommodating
as possible.
• Both approaches strive to insure the access,
participation & progress of students
Connecting UDL to AIM
Broad Usability / Accessibility
• Materials that are designed or enhanced in a
way that they are usable across the widest
possible range of student variability regardless of
format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video)
• Content may be “designed for print delivery” and
require retrofitting for accessibilty
• Content may be “designed for digital delivery”
and difficult to retrofit if not broadly usable or
accessible from the start
Big Ideas in AIM
• The information is the
• Technology is the
delivery system upon
which the content is
presented to the student
The PALM Initiative
from the AIM Center
Benefits of Purchasing Materials
that are Accessible by Design
• Reduces complexity
Eliminates eligibility questions
• Supports inclusion
All students use same materials at the same time
• Benefits all students’ learning
All have access to supportive features and scaffolds
• Benefits teachers
Easier to plan and teach
• May reduce need for some add-on
No need for different sets of materials or to provide
accommodations for inaccessible materials
It Takes Collaboration at all
Levels of the Organization…
How are YOUR responsibilities
related to building environments in
which goals, assessment,methods
and materials encourage and
support the participation and
achievement of ALL students?
It Takes Collaboration at all
Levels of the Organization…
• Providing
• Developing and/or implementing policy
• Developing standards-based curricular goals?
• Selecting learning materials?
• Developing and/or administering assessments?
• Selecting and integrating technology?
• Coordinating or providing professional learning
• Preparing teachers and service providers?
National Center on UDL
…supports the effective implementation of UDL
by connecting stakeholders in the field and
providing resources and information about…
UDL Basics and Value
UDL implementation
Research supports for UDL Framework
Connections to others with similar interests and
concerns at
Vaclav Havel
“It is not enough to stare up the steps…
We must step up the stairs”
Stepping Up the UDL Stairs
Provide Access by planning and
leading and teaching in ways that
eliminates barriers to learning
Increase Participation by providing
options that Increase recognition,
expression &, engagement
Demonstrate achievement by
monitoring progress and documenting
change in professional practices and
student achievement
Stepping Up the UDL Stairs
Encourage educators and families to:
• Visit the UDL Center Web Site
• Peruse the UDL Guidelines and dig deeply into
• View examples and try out ideas
• Work through the UDL Online Modules
• Join in UDL conversations with others grappling
with the similar challenges and opportunities
• And never forget that some students will require
additional supports to participate actively and
achieve even in the most universally designed
We’re just a fingertip away…
Joy Smiley Zabala
[email protected]

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