Talking UDL with Teachers

The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines have had a powerful impact on how I design instruction for and facilitate both in-person and online courses. The principle that “what is necessary from some is good for everyone” helps us to think beyond the use of accessibility features built in to devices like iPad to truly reflect on how learning experiences are designed from the start.  

Venn diagram graphic of the 3 areas of Universal Design for Learning (Representation, Action & Expression, and Engagement)
In our college of education, preservice teachers are required to include UDL checkpoints in their lesson plans and describe how their lessons will meet the checkpoints they select. To prepare students to do this confidently, we introduce them to the UDL guidelines early in their programs and spend time in their courses brainstorming practical ways that they can implement the principles of UDL in their lessons. In my Integrating Technology & Teaching course, we specifically brainstorm ways that technology can be a valuable partner in Universal Design for Learning through a Padlet discussion activity. First, we discuss each of the three components of UDL: Representation, Action & Expression, and Engagement. As we explore, students engage in small group discussions about specific UDL checkpoints and post their group’s ideas to a shared Padlet page. It looks like this… 
Screenshot of Padlet page with discussion posts on it
Screenshot of Padlet page with discussion posts on it
One reason I use Padlet for this activity, rather than a discussion tool embedded in our learning management system, is that I want students’ ideas to be curated in a place that will live beyond the time they are in this course with me. I remind students to bookmark this page, so they can reference it when planning lessons in their internship semesters as well. You could also achieve this goal with a tool like Wakelet. Below I’ve attached some simple slides, created in Keynote, that I’ve used to facilitate this activity and a follow-up introduction to Accessibility features on iPad. While I engaged in these discussions with preservice teachers, this activity could be adjusted to fit the needs of practicing teachers as well.


4 replies

September 19, 2022

I love how your students are gaining a deep knowledge of UDL and thinking of examples of how they can apply it to their practice.

September 22, 2022

Thanks, JJ!

September 20, 2022

So much to take from this Jessica! Thanks for outlining UDL. Loved 5.1 Use multiple media for communications. Such a good point.

September 22, 2022

Thanks, Cheryl!

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