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MDSC Universal Design for Learning Mini Course

Join us on October 6, 2022

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UDL Mini Course Registration Available $225.00

Title of Course: MDSC Universal Design for Learning Mini Course

Instructor: Tara Trainor, Curriculum Director for Oxford Public Schools, Novak Education UDL Presenter

Tara was a classroom teacher for 21 years. She has worked as a special education teacher, a 7th grade teacher of reading, 6th grade ELA/SS, and third grade. She has spent three years working for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a TA in the MTS Literacy Academy and Inclusive Practice Academy working with grades PreK-12. She currently works as the Curriculum Director in Oxford Public Schools. Tara’s journey with UDL began with the initial cohort of training by CAST, the writers of the UDL Guidelines. She began working at Novak Education since its beginning in 2007. She has been working there for the past 15 years, providing PD around the importance of inclusive practices and UDL as a basis for teaching and learning.

Course Dates: October 6th, October 13th, October 20th, October 27th, November 3rd, November 10th

Course Time: 3:30-4:30pm ET Via Zoom (Each session will be recorded and available to registrants.)

Cost: $225 (If you would like to make a payment via Purchase Order, please email education@mdsc.org to process the order. Once the PO is received, you will be sent a promo code to complete registration.)

Professional Development: You will receive 6 professional development hours for mini-course completion.

Course Abstract:  The MDSC is proud to collaborate with Novak Education for a 6 week mini course on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). What is UDL? UDL is a framework to guide the design of learning environments so they are accessible for all students with varying needs. UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than change the learner. Not only does it break down barriers to education, but it creates a path to successful inclusion. Students with Down syndrome and other Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities can highly benefit from UDL frameworks. The goal of this course is to understand how a UDL mindset and skill set can create a classroom full of learners who are engaged in grade-level standards and have a strong sense of belonging.

The course will meet virtually once a week, for one hour, over a 6 week period. Each class will include a presentation on a specific UDL topic with time for questions. Resources discussed in each session will be included in the classroom portal. If you have to miss a session, the course will be recorded and available to registered participants to view for asynchronous learning. You will receive 6 professional development hours for the completion of this mini-course.

The course is open to educators, administrators, parents and others interested in understanding how UDL can improve the education of ALL students.


Course Outline: 

Session 1: Learner Variability
October 6th, 3:30-4:30pm ET

This deep dive will talk about the range of learners within our classrooms, as well as some common myths on the term “average learner.” Together in this session, we will work to debunk these myths and recognize there really is no such thing as the “average” learner. We will break habits as we understand student individuality. Curriculums were developed for the “average learner,” but it’s important to remember not all students are serviced with one method of teaching. An accommodation for a learner with more significant needs could benefit the whole classroom!

Session 2: Engagement in the Classroom Looking to engage your kiddos?
October 13th, 3:30-4:30pm ET

Looking to engage your students? We will take a look at the three major ways to have an engaging classroom: recruit student interest, sustain their effort and persistence, and teach self regulation skills. There is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts, so it is essential to provide multiple options for engagement. Why? Because not all learners are the same! Now that you’ve hooked your learner, how will you keep their attention to ensure they remain engaged and motivated, recognizing that each student will vary in their ability to self-regulate.

Session 3: Representation of Diverse Learners
October 20th, 3:30--4:30pm ET

Each student is unique in how they perceive and comprehend information, so it is critical to customize the delivery. To reduce barriers in learning, it is important that information is perceptible by all learners. We want to ensure we use different modalities (i.e. vision, hearing or touch) and provide the information in a way that can be easily modified for each student (enlarge text, amplify sounds, etc.) This ensures the lesson is accessible to all learners, breaking it down so that it is easier to access and comprehend. In this session, we will look at how to customize displays of information, clarify vocabulary and symbols and illustrate through multiple media.

Session 4: Action and Expression
October 27th, 3:30-4:30pm ET

What techniques do you use to ensure students have what they need, when they need it? We must create a physical environment that works for all learners and reduce barriers to learning. Next, we will look at the multiple ways our students will communicate with us. We must optimize access to tools and assistive technologies, looking at the tools we can provide learners and how to provide support for each student to use these tools effectively and independently. We then can look at executive functioning - how we teach goal setting, helping students pick the right strategy to get work done.

Session 5: Becoming an Expert Learner
November 3rd, 3:30-4:30pm ET

What is an “expert learner”? In UDL, an expert learner doesn’t mean the smartest or top of the class, but a student who is purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal driven. In this session we will break down the final three areas that make up the expert learner process.

Session 6: Unpacking Voice and Choice
November 10th, 3:30-4:30pm ET 

UDL is often mislabeled as giving choices, but it is much more than that! In this final session, we will discuss promoting choice in the classroom by exploring what our students really need and how they can communicate those needs. If we want our students to take ownership of their learning and complete tasks independently, we must gear the work to their preferences. What piques their interest, and how we want to use that information as a tool in the classroom?

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