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PD: The UDL Way — Creating Universally Designed Professional Development

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 124

Listen and learn: Ed talk
Recorded Session
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Learning Specialist / Instructional Technology Coach
Plainfield School District 202
Becky Young is an ISTE Certified Educator and a Google Certified Educator, Trainer, and Coach. She is currently a middle school learning specialist and Lead Instructional Technology Coach in Plainfield District 202 (IL). Previously, she was a high school science educator. Becky has presented at IDEAcon, IETC, the STEAM and Space Education Virtual Conference, TWTCon, and EdChange Global, and “The Suite Talk” (podcast). She earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Science from Bradley University (2005) and a M.A. in Environmental Studies from University of Illinois - Springfield (2007). Before entering education in 2009, she was an environmental specialist in the Chicago area.

Session description

Learn about the Universal Design for Learning guidelines in general and specifically as they apply to adult learners. Participants will explore ways that UDL can be used to create professional development sessions where teachers are provided multiple means of engagement, representation and action/expression.

Purpose & objective

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework for learners of all ages and abilities. The central underlying theme of UDL is that ALL learners can achieve the appropriate standards when learner variability is considered and barriers are removed by providing options for the ways that learners can engage within the learning experience, the ways in which information is represented during the learning experience, the ways that learners navigate the learning experience, and the ways that learners can express their knowledge gained during the learning experience. UDL is specifically defined and endorsed by the Every Student Succeeds Act and identified as a framework to be used in the EdTech field in the 2016 National Education Technology Plan. Quite simply, educational technology is needed to fully integrate UDL into the classroom and the blended learning models align with UDL in their focus on student-centered learning.

However, the implementation of UDL guidelines varies greatly, both in the education of our students and the professional development (PD) of our teachers and related service providers. By using the UDL framework in PD, facilitators can identify and remove barriers so that the teachers can fully achieve the professional development learning goals set by the facilitator. Additionally, modeling the integration of the UDL framework can encourage and support teachers as they work on understanding and implementing the framework.

This presentation will serve as a guide for implementing the UDL guidelines in PD sessions by presenting necessary background information about UDL, examples of implementing UDL in PD, and concrete methods for presenters to fully integrate UDL into future PD sessions. The presentation will be centered on the experiences of the presenter in creating PD experiences that are based on the UDL framework for a large K-12 district in Illinois, USA. The presenter has immersed herself in UDL by learning from her PLN, reading several books, completing courses, and attending conferences and is passionate about ensuring that all students can succeed, no matter their age.

- Participants will understand the purpose of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and its connection to andragogy.
- Participants will be able to apply the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines when creating professional development.

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Participants will be invited to a Pear Deck session as an option to engage with the presentation. The resources will be available in other formats too (modeling the UDL representation guideline). Participants will interact with the presenter using Pear Deck and with their peers both digitally and conversationally. The UDL guidelines will be used to create session resources and will be modeled throughout the session.

1) Check-in: engagement question and join Pear Deck session (5 minutes)
2) Overview of UDL: presentation of information with opportunities for participant reflection (10 minutes)
3) Examples of UDL integration into PD sessions: presentation of information with opportunities for participant reflection(10 minutes)
4) Concrete examples of how to integrate UDL into PD: participant-chosen exploration with opportunities for reflection (20 minutes)
5) Final reflection and Q&A (15 minutes)

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Supporting research

Websites include:
- CAST website:
- UDL Guidelines:
- Novak Education website:

Books include:
- UDL Now!: A Teacher's Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning 3rd ed. Edition by Dr. Katie Novak
- UDL and Blended Learning: Thriving in Flexible Learning Landscapes by Dr. Katie Novak and Dr. Catlin Tucker
- Equity by Design: Delivering on the Power and Promise of UDL by Mirko Chardin and Dr. Katie Novak
- Universal Design Daily: 365 Ways to Teach, Support, & Challenge All Learners Using UDL by Dr. Paula Kluth

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Session specifications

Universal Design for Learning/differentiated learning
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Ability to access a web browser to engage in Pear Deck session; may use headphones
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
Related exhibitors:
GoGuardian + Pear Deck Learning