UDL’s Origins and Acolytes

Joyce Sirois shared an article with me today, that I think is worth passing along.  The article describes the origins of the tenets of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).   Entitled All Along by Katie Bacon, it was published in Ed. The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Joyce’s alma matter, and can be found here.

The principles underlying UDL are simple, but profound, and have begun to be embedded in curricular design around the world.  They support differentiation for all students from the outset of curricular design, not in response to the needs of an identified population.  The article describes the work of David Rose to inform the work of educators and his role as the public face of UDL.

Rose defines the philosophy of UDL as “tight goals, flexible means, as opposed to the tight goals and tight means that schools tend to have.” Key to UDL is the idea of engaging students by presenting information in multiple ways, so it can be accessed by people with many different learning styles. Giving students multiple ways to show they understand information is also essential.

We have our own acolyte in AOS 98, perhaps more, but Barbara Greenstone has been a champion of the principles of UDL both here and in her work over her career.  You can find an iTunes University course here for your iPad produced by Barbara.  This would be a good place to start in considering how these principles can support our students as we continue to work on our curriculum.


About shawncarlson

Assistant Superintendent
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