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Universal Design for Learning

Many of you are already familiar with UDL - a framework to improve teaching and learning that minimizes barriers, maximizes learning and focuses on strengths. UDL focuses on providing access and support for each and every learner. 

We recently benefitted from a presentation on UDL that included practices to support English Language Learners and students with disabilities by Dr. Paul Luelmo for SCRIPT-NC.
The recording and handouts are available here. Using Dr. Luelmo's presentation as a guide, this newsletter will focus on the three areas of UDL - Engagement, Representation and Expression - and the technology applications that are best suited to each area.   


Providing multiple means of engagement is especially effective in removing barriers for English Language Learners.  

This quizzing and polling learning platform is an educational technology application (for students young and old) that makes it easy to participate in the learning process. It is an interactive medium that readily allows students to answer questions without the anxiety of speaking up.

Google Suite
Google documents go beyond sharing a document with other collaborators; it provides a variety of accessibility tools and options for different types of engagement. Google Forms can help with creating surveys and organizing student responses.


Providing multiple means of representation, particularly as it relates to language and symbols, can be a boon for English Language Learners. 

PDF Documents
PDF documents increase accessibility (with an option to have the document read aloud) and have embedded vocabulary support (with the ability to highlight a word and define it or find a synonym). These features support a student's oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.

Google Translate App
While not perfect, Google Translate boasts text, audio and visual translation. Like PDF documents, Google Translate can help bolster a student's vocabulary and reading comprehension. 


Being flexible and providing multiple avenues for students to demonstrate mastery is a further way to support each and every learner.

This virtual classroom allows students to use their phones to record themselves and create short clips to discuss readings or respond to prompts. Flipgrid provides multiple opportunities for ELLs to practice their English as they can potentially write down their answers and practice recording them multiple times in a bid to reach proficiency. 

Student Choice
With the learning objectives in mind, allow students to choose their own means of expression to demonstrate their understanding (e.g. creating an online video, song, etc).

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