Whether in-person, eLearning, or a hybrid—all kinds of possibilities are in the works. Educators and school systems feel like they’re building a plane while flying it as the environment shifts daily.
Frankly, it’s a lot to juggle. And we haven’t even gotten to special education yet!
In special education classrooms, there’s a core and universal problem: Students quickly fall behind when eLearning. Students with IEPs, disabilities, English language learning needs, and socioeconomic issues need support to fully access their curriculum, which makes for a serious eLearning puzzle in many school districts nationwide.
But there’s a way to bridge the gap, and it comes in the form of Universal Design for Learning. UDL believes that there’s not one way to learn, and as such, there should not be one way to teach. It guides the creation of flexible learning environments that embrace the different ways students learn. At a high level, it can be summed up with three key principles:
- Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge
- Multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know
- Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation
In a recent webinar, Katy ISD (a school district of over 80,000 students just west of Houston) shed light on how they implemented Universal Design for Learning to accommodate student learning in the spring of 2020. Their insight and data will be invaluable for educators in the years to come.