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Re-designing and Aligning an Intro to Special Education Class to the UDL Framework through Technology Integration: An Introduction

Author: Samantha Goldman;

Intro to Special Education courses within teacher preparation programs are required for a diverse group of future professionals including special education teachers, general education teachers, physical education teachers, speech pathologists, and social workers. These courses cover topics such as the history of special education, an overview of the disability categories, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. While we are designing and teaching these courses, it is important to not only share the content (through traditional methods of lectures, textbooks, etc), but model “good teaching” that fully embraces the framework. Thus, the purpose of this blog series is to explore common topics, assignments, and challenges in these courses and approach them through a UDL lens with technology integration.

A Brief Overview of the UDL Framework

The UDL framework is divided into three guidelines: Providing multiple means of engagement, providing multiple means of representation, and providing multiple means of action and expression. These guidelines are meant to frame all the pieces of learning to answer the questions of “why” are we learning, “what” are we learning, and “how” are we learning. The use of UDL in education design is not an afterthought, rather it is intentionally designing for all.

Designing from the Onset

Part of the mission of CIDDL is to embrace and encourage innovation within teacher preparation and increase faculty’s capacity to do that. Embracing UDL starts at the onset and cannot be an afterthought. Consider how you could shift your teaching from generational teaching to innovative teaching. This starts with the design of your syllabus,

Join the Conversation

This series will be authored by a first time instructor, with the support of some of the leading researchers in the field of Universal Design for Learning at one of the leading Special Education universities. We would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on the various topics we cover by joining the conversation in our community.