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Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Implementation
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UDL Research in 15 Minutes – The Podcast

UDL Research in 15 Minutes is where researchers share their findings about the implementation, the impact, and their investigations of the Universal Design for Learning framework.



UDL in 15 Minutes – The Podcast

Introduction to UDL in 15 Minutes

This 1:42 recording is a brief introduction to the UDL in 15 Minutes podcast series. It explains how UDL influences the design of this podcast and accompanying products and reminds listeners to have their UDL Guidelines on hand while listening to the podcast.

Episode 1 – Kim Babeu

Loui talks with Kim Babeu of Toltecalli High School in Tucson, AZ about her use of UDL to provide her learners more choice in preparing for, taking, and grading their anatomy assessments. Kim has taught for 38 years and was the 2005 Arizona Teacher of the Year, but has watched her students become more engaged since embedding more choice.

Episode 2 – Shelbi Fortner

Shelbi Fortner from Frankfort High School in Frankfort, Indiana talks about the downside of humidity, her revelation about Universal Design for Learning, and how she used the UDL framework to redesign her honors biology assessment.

Episode 3 – Jessie Sherman

Jessie Sherman is a 2nd grade teacher at City Neighbors Charter School in Baltimore, MD. Project based learning and arts integration are integral to the school's design. Through the use of the UDL framework, Jessie was able to make a project about reptiles even more accessible to her learners.

Episode 4 – Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor has been teaching Kindergarten for 26 years in the Groten-Dunstable Regional School District in Massachusetts. When she first learned about UDL, she was skeptical that it was anything different than good teaching. Once she dug in, though, she realized she could reach her students in ways she never had before.

Episode 5 – Rachel Barillari

Rachel Barillari, an 8th grade humanities teacher from Baltimore, Maryland, shares how UDL shaped her poetry unit, how she was able to engage 100% of her wonderfully diverse class, and how every student authored, visually represented, and performed their own poetry.

Episode 6 – Liz Hartmann

Liz Hartmann, a former K-12 teacher specializing in Deaf-blindness and intellectual disabilities, now teaches about UDL at Lasell College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hear how her graduate students learned how to take more risks in their own learning as they applied the UDL framework and investigated their own journeys toward becoming expert learners.

Episode 8 – Dakota Hudelson

Dakota Hudelson, a 7th grade writing and literacy lab teacher at Northside Middle School in Columbus, Indiana, shared several stories of how UDL has impacted his teaching and how he sees UDL as a framework that upholds social justice by establishing a way to equalize the classroom so all students can learn.

Episode 9 – Ben Kelly

Ben Kelly, a grade 6-12 STEM teacher at Caledonia Regional High School in the Anglophone East School District, New Brunswick, Canada shares what he and his team of teacher-researchers learned about UDL when they conducted an action research study which included Minecraft as a learning tool.

Episode 10 – Jana Nicol

Jana Nicol, a 3rd grade teacher at Island View School in St. John, New Brunswick Canada and the website author of www.theudlproject.com shares how she began her UDL journey with the design of her environment and how she supports her students to understand the goals of the day.

Episode 11 – Monica Watson-Bedard

Monica Watson-Bedard, a Grade 7 teacher at Millidgeville North School in New Brunswick, Canada, shares her lessons after conducting action research to discover how choice affects student engagement in assessments. Her take-aways have a surprise tucked into them!

Episode 12 – Dan Schmidt

Dan’s 26 years as an elementary school teacher have taught him a lot, but one of his biggest lessons was when he learned to ask, “Why not?” Hear how combining that lesson with UDL has led him to create an incredibly flexible, open, and non-threatening math classroom.

Episode 13 – Kim Babeu Talking About SPORT

Kim Babeu introduces us to a system she uses called SPORT which encompasses both behavior and academic supports. It has lowered barriers for her anatomy and physics students so successfully at Toltecalli High School, in Tucson, AZ that their grades have gone way up. During our conversation, Kim and I explore how the system overlaps with UDL. The associated blog dives into the intentional use of the UDL framework.

Episode 14 – Adria Gold

Hear how Adria Gold, an English Language Arts teacher from Prettyboy Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland responds to her variable learners through chunking her materials. In addition, she shares how she breaks down her expectations so all of her learners know where to start and how to participate in the lesson.

Episode 15 – Melissa Toland

Melissa discovered UDL as a 7th grade English teacher but recently transitioned to become a district resource teacher who helps other teachers learn about and implement UDL. Hear how she started weaving UDL into her classroom using small steps and how she uses that same model as she brings UDL to others. She also shares a UDL tool she redesigned to fit the needs of her adult learners.

Episode 16 – Camille Wheeler

This special edition of UDL in 15 Minutes was recorded in front of a live studio audience at the UDL-IRN Summit on March 28, 2019. Camille is a Learning Coach at Sunflower Elementary School in Lawrence, Kansas and during this episode, she shares how she and the fourth grade teachers devised a system to help their learners show what they know in English Language Arts through their use of the UDL principle of Action and Expression. Students gained new levels of ownership, participation, and expression by brainstorming, planning, designing, and creating their creations to demonstrate their knowledge of main idea and detail.

Episode 17 – Karlene Warns

Karlene Warns, a 27-year teaching veteran, shares how she’s helped her kindergartners gain the self-regulation skills necessary to support their executive functioning capabilities. During the podcast, we address that push and pull felt by so many teachers – when to spend time on skills that feel more like behavior and when to dive into academics. Karlene shares what’s been successful for her.

Episode 18 – Justin Freedman

Hear how Justin Freedman, an assistant professor at Rowan University, provides his pre-service teachers with a 365-degree relationship with UDL. Not only do they learn about it and observe other lessons and learning environments implementing UDL, they experience a learning environment designed by Justin using UDL. Justin also shares how and why he become a professor and his research accommodations at the college level.

Episode 19 – Rebecca Chappell

Special educator Rebecca Chappell shares how she and her English Language Arts colleague used Universal Design for Learning to design how they would integrate Quizlet and other methods and materials to ensure all of their learners improved their understanding and application of some challenging vocabulary terms.

Episode 20 – 2019 July Holiday Break

It’s July which means summer holiday in most of North America. And even though UDL in 15 Minutes is taking a production break, I’ve made a table of past episodes to make it easy for listeners to find the episode they want to hear for their first time or second, third, or fourth. Happy listening!

Episode 21 – Rebecca Chappell 2

Special educator Rebecca Chappell shares how she designed choice into the AIMSweb assessment through UDL. By providing her learners choice, they are more engaged with their writing and by clarifying the goal, they are finding their own motivation.

Episode 22 – Karen Keener and Jordan Landis

Karen Keener and Jordan Landis co-teach 8th grade language arts classes together at Crestview Middle School in Ohio. Here, they share how their respect for one another, their use of the UDL framework, their expectations for their students, and their mindset around the ownership of all learners have set them up to produce engaging lessons where all learners gain the skills of expert learners.

Episode 23 – Carrie Preston

Carrie Preston shares a unit she designed for her 12th grade seniors that kept them engaged at the end of the year and how amazed she was with the products they produced, all because she designed the unit using the UDL framework…and got out of their way.

Episode 25 – Kate Stanley

Kate Stanley, a multi-age 3rd and 4th grade teacher from Madison, New Hampshire has been in the classroom for 21 years and firmly believes all learners can and should have more agency in their learning and UDL helps her provide more of it. She shares how she gets her learners started at the beginning of the year as well as the initial steps she took.

Episode 26 – Tracy Pendred and Kimberly Spears

Tracy Pendred and Kimberly Spears of City Neighbors Charter School, a public school in Baltimore, MD, share how their formal mentor/mentee relationship grew into a friendship and how that relationship supports their implementation of UDL.

Episode 27 – Beth Fornauf

Beth Fornauf and her colleagues at the University of New Hampshire not only teach their graduate students about the UDL framework and ask them to use it to design their rural K-12 learning environments and lessons, they use the framework to improve their Teacher Residency for Rural Education Program through a barrier analysis.

Episode 28 – Shannon Van Horn

Not every educator works on a staff or even with a team who is focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Shannon’s school is very committed to the academic and social-emotional growth of their students. This helps establish an environment where Shannon’s ideas, which are driven by UDL, to flourish. She and her co-teacher focus on knowing the goal and lowering every barrier possible for their 5th graders.

Episode 29 – Diana-Grace Morris, Bonni Ramage, and Catherine Wong

Diana-Grace Morris, Bonni Ramage, and Catherine Wong are all educators from Wainuiomata, New Zealand who share stories of how teachers at Konini Primary School are embracing UDL to investigate how they can lower barriers for learners and then expanding those ideas to encompass even more learners.

Episode 30 – One Year In!

This week’s episode provides an updated easy-to-read table organizing all of the UDL in 15 Minute episodes to date.

Episode 31 – Melanie Acevedo

Melanie Acevedo shares how she helps teachers implement UDL via her role as a digital literacy teacher and a personalized learning coach.

Episode 32 – Amanda Hughes

High school teacher Amanda Hughes emphasizes the need to teach executive function skills to high school students and shares how she weaves the UDL guideline of Executive Function into her classroom every day.

Episode 33 – Laura Christie

Laura Christie, an English Language Arts teacher from Fishers, Indiana shares how the voices of her students, including those who are high ability, students with IEPs, and students with 504’s, helped her see how all students can benefit from options. And many times, it’s the same options.

Episode 34 – Christina Khatri

7th grade science teacher Christina Khatri, from Ocean View Junior High School in Oxnard, CA, shares how her students have blossomed into motivated and persistent learners through her use of UDL for planning and teaching.

Episode 35 – Ian Wilkins

When Ian Wilkins began to adopt Universal Design for Learning into his learning environment, he began to investigate how grades were moving his students away from being expert learners. Hear how this high school English Language Arts teacher redesigned his syllabus, created a rubric, and now guides his students toward a stronger growth mindset.

Episode 36 – Sara Soria

Principal Sara Soria shares her rich professional and personal journey to emphasize the importance of using art as a means of learning and expression and how she sees the arts as a tool to implement UDL.

Episode 37 – Kelley Culp

Benefit from Kelley’s knowledge about UDL and her experience of planning an online environment using the framework. She recommends starting small and gives some specific examples of where she got started.

Episode 38 – Robin Dazzeo

Robin, who is newer to UDL, shares her thoughts on how she’s going to weave UDL into her online enrichment lessons to enhance engagement and access during this time of social distancing.

Episode 39 – Dan Marsh

High school teacher Dan Marsh has been teaching in a brick and mortar setting for 16 years, but he’s also taught online for 10 years. During this episode, he shares his ideas about shifting his brick and mortar lessons online and how he’s supporting his students during that shift.

Episode 41 – Finding What You Need

This episode provides an updated easy-to-read table that organizes all of the UDL in 15 Minutes episodes by subject and grade. Find the podcast topic that connects with you most, then try out a couple of others!

Episode 42 – Lizzie Davis

Hear how Lizzie and her colleagues used their UDL mindset to think through the barriers their students would face during emergency distance learning and how they are using the UDL framework to plan for their students’ return.

Episode 43 – Elish Sheridan

Since the beginning, Elish Sheridan and her colleagues have used a TeachMeet format to share their effective uses of the UDL framework when planning and delivering their face-to-face and current distance learning lessons. They’ve continued that sharing style during their school’s closure. Elish shares what her colleagues have discovered during this podcast and via a one-page overview.

Episode 44 – Brenny Kummer

Brenny Kummer, a former middle and high school teacher, is a technology coordinator for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation. In this podcast, she shares how BCSC had already ingrained UDL into its technology supports, how she and her colleagues have supported teachers during emergency online learning, and a specific example of supporting occupational therapists.

Episode 45 – Catherine Hill

Catherine chose to learn about UDL on her own, but is now excited to share how it has positively affected her students in both face-to-face and online settings. She shares some of the strategies she’s found helpful as well as next steps for her and her colleagues.

Episode 46 – 2020 Discussion Guide

This 1 minute 30 second announcement shares where you can find a discussion guide for past and future UDL in 15 Minute episodes and includes prompts about the shift so many made to online learning. Get ready for another episode next week!

Episode 47 – Cherie Smith

Recorded live during the UDL-IRN 2020 Summit On Demand on June 4, 2020, Cherie Smith describes the benefits of the practice profile and how one district is using practice profiles to articulate what it looks like when students are given clear lesson goals.

Episode 48 – Lauren Helberg

Lauren’s story shows how UDL shifted her mindset to create a space where learners are given the opportunity, time, and information to show what they really know.

Announcing a NEW Podcast: UDL Research in 15 Minutes

There’s a new UDL Podcast coming to town! The same host with the same passion for UDL bringing you new information from a new angle. Researchers and I will have interesting conversations about their work and how that work connects to the classroom. The first guest will knock your socks off, so stay tuned via Twitter or my website.

Episode 50 – Brandy Major and Lauren Holcombe

Brandy and Lauren combined their skills to create a lasting unit on research for Lauren’s freshman English class. While they used hyper docs as the main tool, the design of their environment supported the self-regulation, comprehension, and executive functioning of their students.

Episode 51 – Susanne Geise

High School teacher Susanne Geise shares how her students helped develop her very successful project on ethos, pathos, and logos using UDL and the format of the famous TV show, Shark Tank.

Episode 52 – Selena Andrade Gonzalez

Selena Andrade Gonzalez is a Resource Specialist at a bi-lingual and high need school in Salinas, CA. She shares the strategies she’s used to introduce UDL to general education and how UDL led her to use physical and verbal signs to support her learners during distance learning.

Episode 53 – Daphne Hereford

Daphne Hereford is a high school Visual Communication Design teacher which means students create products using really cool digital tools. UDL helps Daphne focus on what the students need to learn prior to choosing the tools they will use which leads to highly engaging lessons.

Episode 54 – Carla-Ann Brown

6th Grade World Cultures teacher Carla-Ann Brown shares how she uses backwards planning and UDL to design units that are inclusive as well as culturally sustaining.


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