Presenting research on reading problems – a good example

This video is a supplement to an academic paper by Rebecca King and is a good example of how to present research in a way that is congruent with the topic. Too many academics write for other academics and consequently their knowledge is rarely translated for others to use.  Even if you are not interested in UD for learning, the short video is worth watching to see how creatively the information is presented.


Transforming Schools into Innovative Learning Organisations

Open Discovery Space Conference Athens 2015The Eurpoean Union’s Europe 2020 Strategy recognises that students with disability are still chronically at high risk for school failure and under performance. The aim is not to change the students but to redesign, adapt and personalise instructional methods. If you’ve wondered what Universal Design for Learning is about – the introduction to this article should help.

From the Abstract: “Grounded on new research in neuroscience and the Design for All principles, Universal Design for Learning constitutes an educational approach that promotes access, participation and progress in the general curriculum for all learners. UDL recognises the need to create opportunities for the inclusion of diverse learners through providing curricula and instructional activities that allow for multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement. Yet, these developments do not necessarily result in significant, widespread changes in practice – that is, in how schools actually organise and provide learning experiences for pupils. The difficulty is in all cases translating these policies into practice. Though the policy context supports a shift to inclusion, professionals need more support to develop their practice. In order to bridge the gap between policy and practice the UDLnet network aspires to address this necessity collecting and creating best practices under the framework of Universal Design for Learning. UDLnet is a European network that aims to contribute to the improvement of teachers’ practice in all areas of their work, combining ICT skills with UDL-based innovations in pedagogy, curriculum, and institutional organization. This paper presents the UDLnet project, its aims, the methodological framework, as well as the description and documentation of a case study from the field of science with application of the UDL framework on the Inventory.

This conference paper from the conference proceedings book, Open Discovery Space Conference held in Athens, Greece 18-20 september 2015



Blending UD, e-Learning and ICT

elearningThe authors* of this chapter examine how to blend universal design (UD) with e-learning tools used by post-secondary faculty and with information and communication technologies (ICTs) used by students in traditional classroom, hybrid, and online courses. The focus is on how instructors can design and deliver their courses in an accessible way using e-learning.  The authors conclude: “Considering UD when selecting and using e-learning materials in traditional, hybrid, and online courses can ensure an accessible learning experience for the diversity of students in today’s colleges and universities. Collaboration between the wide array of stakeholders is needed to design, implement, and support accessibility and usability. This includes the students, instructors, ICT vendors, institutional IT procurement specialists, and campus disability service providers.”

*In S. E. Burgstahler (Ed.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (2nd ed.), pp. 275-284. Boston: Harvard Education Press.

Dowload the chapter here 


School Librarians as Equity Warriors

Librarians Journal front coverValerie Hunsinger is a school librarian. Her article is a thoughtful piece about equity in terms of access to knowledge and information, particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Some children have never been to a bookstore or bought a book, so the library is a very important part of their overall education. In talking about another librarian introducing UD she writes: “Everything from the layout and furniture to the shelves and technology was adapted to fit all learners. For a student born with shortened limbs, she found funding to buy a specialized wireless computer mouse, and her library’s flexible floor plan allowed this adaptive tool to be easily accommodated. Another student arrived with a back injury, and Aponte found funding to purchase a special chair. For students who have difficulties turning pages, Aponte purchased special board books that allow them to experience the feeling of reading. She truly shows how libraries can serve all learners.”



Creating alternative formats

This video from the Universal Design Centre California State University explains the importance of providing multiple means of representation – documents and information in alternative formats.  The video is an example of universal design itself, and is something we should all strive for in our communications and documentation every time.


Checklist for written material and oral presentations

Queensland government poster with logoThe Queensland Department of Vocational Education and Training has produced a useful checklist for anyone producing written materials or making presentations. The checklist covers all points that should be considered by everyone regardless of whether it is a casual talk with a small group, a flyer to promote an event, a lecture and learning materials for students, or a major conference presentation.

Universal Design Checklist Word      Universal Design Checklist PDF


It’s not just a book club:

A novel approach to prepare researchers for practice

This article from the University of Calgary is targeted to the research community, particularly those involved in interdisciplinary research, and uses the principles of universal design for learning as a means of bridging the misunderstandings that can occur in interdisciplinary research.  Their conclusions are:

“Our purpose for using a book club approach was to develop our proficiency in the use of UDL, given the diversity of our knowledge and experience with this framework. Throughout the book club experience, we were able to present our perspectives, negotiate ideas, and resolve misconceptions that enabled us to have a greater common understanding of UDL. The book club was a starting point for our collaborative team, which quickly evolved into a community of practice. The initial building of self-efficacy as individuals strengthened the outcomes of the collaborative interactions during the scholarly book club discussions. Continue reading It’s not just a book club: