We All Vary: Why Universal Design is for All of Us

with Luis Perez
More than Cool: FETC's Discussions on EdTech with Leading Educators

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Date: Tuesday, December 6
Time: 8:00PM Eastern/ 5:00PM Pacific Time
There is no "average learner" for whom we can design instruction. We need to design and deliver instruction that recognizes learner variability from the start.

One of the common misconceptions about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is that it is only for special education learners. On the contrary, UDL is for all learners, because we all vary. We are all on a continuum when it comes to our abilities. This challenges the labels (“special needs,” “gifted”) we have placed on learners based on their divergence from the mythical average learner.

We have known about the “myth of average” since a military researcher started challenging the concept more than 60 years ago. More recently, the latest findings from neuroscience, aided by brain imaging studies, have further challenged this idea in relation to the learning brain. Despite the evidence, education continues to buck the trend toward personalization in other fields. While innovative educators have created pockets where personalization is thriving, on the whole education is still designed around an average learner, in a one-size-fits-all manner.

In this session, we will explore the key assumptions and beliefs about learning that make UDL a much needed framework for designing education to meet the needs of today’s diverse learners. While UDL can be implemented with or without technology, the latest developments in technology make the implementation of UDL easier by providing more options for how educators can represent information and learners can show their understanding. Thus, in this session we will also look at a few examples of technology tools that support the adoption of UDL. Please register below.

Luis Perez photo
Luis Perez
is an Inclusive Learning Evangelist: he helps educators create more inclusive learning environments for all students through the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, the selection of appropriate assistive technology for those students who need it to overcome barriers to learning, and the authoring of accessible content.

He has a doctorate in special education and a master’s in instructional technology from the University of South Florida (USF). in 2009 he was one of 52 educators in the U.S. selected to join the 2009 class of the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE)Program. ADEs are a select group of K-12 and higher education professionals with an identified expertise in educational technology. Luis is also a Google in Education Certified Innovator (formerly Google Certified Teacher) and currently serves as the Professional Learning Chair of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
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Other Sessions in this Series

November 30, Technologies and Literacy in Early Learning with Gail Lovely