Beyond random acts of improvement – UDL at Harvard day 2.

So here is my second video post from Boston.


So at the end of 2nd day here at the Universal Design for Learning “Reaching all learners” course. And yes, two huge huge days.

The first one really about getting everyone on the same page and just kind of introductory stuff. But definitely a huge big second day with quite a few discussion that have come around and round back to cultural responsiveness. And people wanting some questions answered there.

Big sessions on disruptive innovation and how you can have random acts of improvement in classrooms, and I think we see that in New Zealand. We see certain teachers doing great things in their use of technology in the classroom. But just like that for systemic reform requires a systemic approach if you going to make long term changes for students. So that was quite a biggie.

I guess something that has really stuck with me today, has been that I thought about the UDL principles, it’s been very much in a particular order around representation first, then action and expression and then engagement. And a big thing that has come round and round today is that engagement is stage (or principle) one. That beginning with the backgrounds, culture strengths and interests, you have to begin there and look at engagement first. Then look at representations and then action and expression.

And then the other thing is that the UDL, that the framework is not about the learner, it’s about the learning environment. So it’s not things you are going to “do” to the learner. Its understanding what the needs are, then adjusting the environment accordingly to support learning.

So today’s particular person to look out for online would be a bloke called Jon Mundorf and I will stick his name underneath in the post.

Yeah, great to see fantastic examples of teaching and learning, especially innovative ways of using technology but just inside this Universal Design for Learning framework.

year, so I’ll keep you posted.

Useful links


  1. karenmelhuishspencer

    Loved the second vid – awesome to feel so connected with you so far away:-) Key takeaways for me already, like DK, have been around the adapting of environment and the affirmation of the ‘putting the learners’ at the heart so that is so crucial to the NZC/TMoA.
    I’d like to hear more about the actual framework for UDL that you talk about…and also what ‘representation’ means/looks like.
    Hope the trip is everything you’d hoped for:-)

  2. DK

    Great to hear your ongoing stateside adventure – some great topics and ideas being shared it sounds like. Like the point about creating the habitat to form the habit rather than the other way round – keep ’em coming 🙂

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