Holistic Education: Universal Design for Learning

Course overview

This interactive, hands-on course is designed to empower educators with the principles and strategies of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), fostering a holistic approach to inclusive education. Through a series of engaging modules, participants will learn how to unlock the potential of all students, accommodating diverse learning needs, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.

The course will delve into the core concepts of UDL, exploring strategies to identify and remove barriers to learning, foster creativity, and seamlessly integrate all students into a unified, inclusive learning environment. Participants will learn how to engage learners through multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression, catering to diverse learning styles and preferences.

Emphasis will be placed on practical applications, with participants crafting their own lesson plans and tasks, delving into real-life examples, and engaging in collaborative activities. The course will provide a supportive group setting that emphasizes peer-to-peer learning, idea exchange, and the cultivation of robust teaching skills.

Participants will explore the synergistic relationship between UDL and differentiated instruction, learning how to leverage technology and blended learning strategies to enhance UDL implementation. The course will also guide participants through the process of UDL lesson planning, navigating the shift towards expert learning within the UDL framework.

To enhance the learning experience and provide a cultural context, the course will incorporate a guided cultural visit, allowing participants to explore local heritage and sustainable practices. This visit will further enrich their understanding of inclusive and environmentally conscious approaches to education.

Tentative schedule:

Day 1: Foundations of Universal Design for Learning

  • Icebreakers and networking activities
  • Introduction to the course and participants
  • Overview of the course methodology and expectations
  • Overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
  • UDL and inclusive classrooms
  • Group discussions: Sharing personal experiences and challenges in creating inclusive learning environments

Day 2: Engaging diverse learners through multiple means

  • Engaging all learners in a classrooms
  • Diverse paths of learning
  • Discussion on diverse needs of the students and means how to fulfill them
  • Hands-on activities: Designing inclusive learning experiences

Day 3: Assessing with inclusivity and cultural exploration

  • Diverse methods, approaches, and strategies to assessment
  • UDL and differentiated instruction
  • Cultural visit (e.g. museum, heritage site) guided in English to explore local heritage and sustainability practices
  • Post-visit activities: Incorporating cultural elements and sustainable practices into inclusive lesson design

Day 4: Technology-enabled learning and blended strategies

  • Role of technology in UDL
  • Leveraging blended learning strategies for enhanced UDL implementation
  • Hands-on activities: Integrating technology and blended learning into UDL lesson plans

Day 5: UDL lesson planning and course wrap-up

  • UDL lesson planning
  • Teamwork activity: Creating a sample lesson following UDL principles
  • Group presentations: Sample UDL lesson plans and inclusive teaching strategies
  • Course evaluation and feedback
  • Certification ceremony

The classes typically run from 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, with the afternoon and evening reserved for self-reflection and individual study. However, the course schedule may be adjusted to accommodate the preferences of the participants and the availability of instructors or external learning locations. Participants will receive the finalized schedule well in advance, allowing ample time for preparation and planning.

Learning outcomes:

The participants will be able to:

  • Analyze the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and their application in creating inclusive learning environments that accommodate diverse needs, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Identify and remove barriers to learning, fostering an inclusive classroom environment that promotes active participation and societal inclusion.
  • Design engaging learning experiences that cater to diverse learners by utilizing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression.
  • Integrate strategies for differentiated instruction and leverage technology and blended learning approaches to enhance the implementation of UDL principles.
  • Develop inclusive assessment strategies that align with the principles of UDL, ensuring equitable evaluation of all learners.
  • Create a toolkit of ready-to-use materials, lesson plans, and activities that emphasize a UDL-aligned, interdisciplinary, and holistic approach to inclusive education.
  • Implement strategies to motivate, guide, and effectively assess students, reducing achievement gaps and promoting peer exchange and active participation within the education system.
  • Evaluate and promote innovative pedagogies that are responsive to social and cultural diversity, adhering to the spirit of UDL and fostering inclusive learning environments.
  • Collaborate with educators from diverse backgrounds, engaging in cross-cultural learning experiences, exchanging ideas, and building a foundation for future international cooperation within the UDL framework.
  • Incorporate cultural elements and sustainable practices observed during the guided cultural visit into their inclusive teaching methodologies, promoting environmentally conscious and culturally responsive practices.

Course fee:

  • 400 euro per participant (covered entirely by the Erasmus grant)

Course fee includes:

  • At least 25 hours of course content;
  • Course materials;
  • Certificate of participation;
  • Europass, on request;
  • Learning / Mobility Agreement;
  • Visits to local institutions, if available;
  • Personalized support;
  • Free high-speed WIFI internet at the POU Čakovec premises;
  • Refreshments;
  • Administration costs;
  • Dissemination materials.
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