Roots, Reality, Reboot: Transforming (Special) Education to Advance Equity and Learning

Instruction: UDL (III & IV)

**CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author. Available at from (Final)_3.doc

This document, created by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), introduces Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a framework that acknowledges students’ diverse learning styles by recommending flexible goals, strategies, materials, and assessments. The rationale for UDL is that a “one-size fits all” curriculum creates barriers for learners; a more appropriate approach is to transform curriculum to meet the needs of all students. Grounded on research in neuroscience, UDL is based on the following three principles: 1) provide multiple means of representation, 2) provide multiple means of action and expression, and 3) provide multiple means of engagement. For each principle, the document outlines sub-steps, or “checkpoints,” as well as classroom-based implementation examples.

**Rose, D. H., & Gravel, J. W. (2012, March). Curricular opportunities in the digital age. Boston, MA: Jobs for the Future. Available at Opportunities%20Digital%20Age.pdf

This article examines the role of digital technology in implementing UDL’s student-centered learning approach. Using the CAST’s three UDL principles (referenced above), the author argues that traditional print, the primary medium for instruction in today’s classrooms, is limiting in its capacity to reach all students. In contrast, multi-media technologies can be transformed in a variety of ways to allow a broader range of learners to engage with information—allowing educators to optimize learning for every student. The article also emphasizes challenges with employing digital technologies in schools, such as funding new resources and building teacher capacity to use new media to support student learning. It concludes by summarizing federal, state, and district initiatives that support UDL practices and provides hope for a future in which the means for learning are ample and appropriate for all students.

Glass, D., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. H. (2013). Universal Design for Learning and the arts. Harvard Educational Review, 83(1), 98-119. Available at

This article summarizes how the arts and students with disabilities have been marginalized in our current education system. Arguing that traditional curricula is too narrowly conceived to reach all learners, the authors examine how UDL can enrich arts education, what arts education adds to UDL, and what the combination of the two can contribute to education reform. By providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement within the arts education, UDL can create a paradigm shift in what we mean by art and who can create it. At the same time, the arts have always encouraged flexibility and inclusion through their multifaceted media (i.e. visual art, movement, sound, and written and oral language). Through the integration of the arts and UDL, education can be transformed to include complex content and processes that are rich with culture and human expression.

**This document is considered a priority reading.