Monday, October 13, 2014

Archive of the Chat: How Do You Incorporate UDL into Blended Learning?

post via Michele Eaton, moderator of #INeLearn's Online and Blended Learning Strand

In the October 9 #INeLearn Twitter Chat, I (@lyonmi) moderated a discussion on using Universal Design for Learning in a blended learning environment.  Joining me this week were several of the wonderful people from Indiana PATINS (@PATINSPROJECT).  

Our chat started in a typical fashion.  I planned out several questions to lead the conversation.  Soon after we got started though, we all realized that as a group, we had more questions than answers.  So we decided to flip this chat on its head.  We took advantage of the UDL experts that had joined us and the participants were the ones asking the questions.  Lots of information and resources were shared.  

What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

Daniel McNulty (@danielgmcnulty), Director of PATINS, started us off with a slide sharing the formal definition of UDL.


Paula Neidlinger (@pneid) shared that the “basic concept is learning that is designed to meet the needs of all students.  Many echoed the same idea that UDL is a framework which allows us to design a curriculum to provide equal opportunities for all students.  Sandy Stabenfeldt (@ss4122) adds that “UDL reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports and challenges.”

Take a look at this UDL Guidelines website and/or take a look at the chart below for the three main principles of UDL instruction.
For an in depth look at this idea, the PATINS crew recommends this 22 minute video unwrapping what UDL is and how it is beneficial for students: PATINS DOE 2014 Webinar

How is this different from what I’m already doing?

First of all, it’s important to know that UDL is not something that can be purchased and it is certainly not a piece of technology.  It’s a framework.  

McNulty shared the following slide that compares UDL with assistive technology and accessible instructional materials.


Can you give examples of what UDL looks like in the classroom?

Michelle Green (@mrg_3) shares this cool Powtoon illustrating an example of a UDL vocabulary lesson for elementary students.

Kim Hendrick (@evolvewithkim) suggests “including closed captioning” or “text that can be read by a screen reader.”

Flexibility in space and pace is another example of a strategy that can be used to help all learners.


Sandra Mahl (@smahlstuff) agrees that it’s all about multiple options stating the “key to making any learning UDL, blended or not, is the availability of multiple ways for the learner to interact with curriculum.”

JD Ferries-Rowe (@jdferries) says he loves having students determine the grading criteria for assignments.  Good example of student voice and choice!

If you are interested in the flipped model, Jennifer Marien (@Jennifer_Marien) shared this article on UDL and the Flipped Classroom.  

Here’s what it DOESN’T look like:

What do I need to get started?

First of all, check out the resources available in this UDL Toolkit.  Lots of great tools and resources.  Stabenfeldt also shared this UDL Lesson Plan Template with the chat participants.

For those leading this discussion in their districts and schools, I shared this presentation I used for an hour long interactive webinar.  It has notes for various discussions and activities.

How can the PATINS staff help?

Request free accessible materials here:  Indiana Center for Accessible Materials
Borrow assistive technology for free here:  Online Lending Library

Feel free to contact them for free webinars and other training opportunities!

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