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Edtech Advocacy &
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Universal Design for Learning for Inclusion and Empowerment

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Panel

Wednesday, December 2, 3:45–4:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Kimberly Coy  
Helen DeWaard  
Rhianon Gutierrez  
Mindy Johnson  
Dr. Luis Perez  

We know that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a powerful framework for designing more effective learning experiences. But is it really more than that? Join our panel of expert practitioners and find out how UDL promotes inclusion and empowerment for all learners, including educators.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Equity & inclusion
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is becoming a more ubiquitous instructional framework for designing learning experiences that are more equitable, accessible, and inclusive. However, there is a persistent misconception in the education world that UDL is only for students with disabilities or is a separate framework to use when students are struggling. Even within the ISTE proposal submission guide, UDL and Differentiated Instruction are lumped together as though they are somehow the same concept. We want to break this unfortunate misconception and elevate the goal of the UDL framework and the UDL Guidelines — to develop expert learners. Expert learners are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-directed. In other words, expert learners are empowered learners. They aren't necessarily experts in particular subject areas, but are masters in learning itself. An educator's role is to not only help develop these skills in students, but to model empowerment and inclusion through becoming expert learners themselves.

Our panel of UDL experts is ready to take our participants' understanding of UDL to the next level, going beyond the UDL Guidelines to the heart of UDL. From their different contexts, they will describe and provide experience and models for how UDL promotes not only inclusion, but empowerment among all learners, educators and education leaders included.


I. (7 mins) Introduction and background on UDL
II. (7 mins) Accessibility & UDL - the basics of inclusion & empowerment
III. (7 mins) How UDL promotes inclusion and empowerment in K-12 environments
IV. (7 mins) How UDL promotes inclusion and empowerment in postsecondary environments
V. (7 mins) How UDL promotes inclusion, empowerment, and hospitality in virtual environments
VI. (10 mins) Questions and discussion

Between each section of the panel presentation, the moderator will engage the audience with interactive polling (2 mins between each presenter) and real-time backchannel discussion. Each panelist will engage with the audience before, during, and after the session to promote continued discussion and feedback.

Supporting research

UDL Guidelines:
UDL at a Glance [video]:
UDL & the Learning Brain:
Intentionally Equitable Hospitality in Hybrid Video Dialogue: The context of virtually connecting:
UDL on Campus:
Top 5 UDL Tips for Fostering Expert Learners:
Dive Into UDL: Immersive Practices to Develop Expert Learners:

More [+]


Dr. Kimberly Coy, California State University, Fresno
Helen DeWaard, UBC and Lakehead University
Rhianon Gutierrez, Boston Public Schools
Mindy Johnson, CAST

Mindy Johnson is the Director of Digital Communication & Outreach at CAST. She is a former high school special education teacher and instructor for the Boston Museum of Science Overnight Program, providing insight into UDL implementation in informal learning environments. She is also one of the co-founders of #UDLchat on Twitter and coordinates the digital outreach activities (web and social media) for CAST. Mindy is the 2019-2020 President of ISTE’s Inclusive Learning Network and was part of the Technical Working Group for the development of the 2018 refresh of the ISTE Standards for Educators.

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