In your experience, how can districts support successful UDL implementation?
More teachers need to be trained in implementing Universal Design using technology. So many teachers are still talking about "accommodations" like using highlighters, reteaching, preferential seating, blah blah blah. We need to bring education into the 21st century. There is no reason why students can't have individualized learning based on what they are passionate about and the strengths that define them.
Thanks Dvora. You made a very critical point: UDL implementation is a framework that meets the needs of all learners. People tend to think of 'accommodations' as only for students with disabilities but UDL is good for everyone. Do you agree? Another idea is that the UDL principles can be applied in technology-rich learning environments as well as those that are completely unplugged. Do others find that to be the case? I also find that I think differently about planning now that I am knowledgeable about the UDL framework. Have others found that to be true?
Share your thinking and experience with UDL implementation.
To learn more about what some districts are doing, check out UDL Implementation: A Tale of Four Districts (http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/fourdistricts).
My name is Erica Perkins and I am an Instructional Coach in Kentucky. I have been taking a course about Universal Design. My district has not implemented UDL yet, but we have had success with other initiatives such as district wide goal setting, implementation of Kagan structures, a common reading framework, a district wide writing format, etc. We have done this through intense professional development for teachers and administrators, monitoring, consistent feedback, instructional coaching/mentoring, sufficient resources, book studies that included a development of a common language, and professional learning communities. I believe a similar delivery method will work for the rollout of UDL.
In my district we have a system of district facilitated academies in place. These academies meet one time per month for one to two hours. Elementary academies are by grade level. Middle and high schools meet together by content area. District leadership also meets monthly in PLC’s with middle/high content area teams. In addition, administrators meet monthly for EILA (Excellence In Leadership Academies) where they receive the same training as their faculties in addition to other development that will enable them to be effective instructional leaders. I think utilizing these district academies and PLC’s would be the most effective way to spread the word/work of UDL. In addition, we have other instructional coaches in addition to myself who would be available to model UDL lessons and help plan with teachers.
In the past, we have implemented/spread other initiatives in this way. Please give feedback to these ideas. Thanks!