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A Closer Look at Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Liz Berquist shares the basics of UDL

for Learning (UDL) Liz Berquist shares the basics of UDL What is UDL? In today’s K

What is UDL?

In today’s K-12 classrooms learner diversity is the norm, rather than the exception. UDL addresses learner diversity at the point of curriculum development (Meo, 2008). UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all (CAST, 2008). What makes UDL unique is that this emphasis for change is placed upon the curricula, instead of on the student, a departure from the traditional approach of modifying, or retrofitting, curricula based on the individual needs of students (Rose and Meyer, 2005).

Who is talking about UDL?

The state of Maryland is leading the way with UDL initiatives. HB 59/SB 467, passed in April 2010, is the first state level bill to address UDL. The bill established a state-level UDL task force to explore the incorporation of the UDL principles into curriculum. Several counties have worked with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) on a number of recent UDL professional development workshops.

Are we talking about UDL in the COE?

We are! The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) states that pre-service teacher education programs should design instruction that models the UDL principles in order to better prepare future educators for working with diverse learners. COE courses have covered UDL for quite some time but in recent semesters, faculty members in the instructional technology and special education departments have worked together to carefully redesign two courses using the UDL principles. The group was inspired by the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan, which presents UDL as a way to design and implement accessible curriculum and assessments in order to meet the needs of 21 st century learners.

How can I learn more?

On March 3 and 4th, Dr. Todd Rose, research scientist at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), and faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will present The new learning sciences: How variability in learning informs teaching in the 21st century. Dr. Rose will discuss what modern neuroscience tells us about the origins of variability in learning, and what this means for the way that we design learning environments within the context of Universal Design for Learning. This event is open to the greater Towson community and will begin at 6:30pm in the Lecture Hall. If you are interested in attending this event, please register at