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Tuesday, August 1 • 10:00am - 10:18am
The Global UDL Virtual Classroom: Researching Cultural Perspectives

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This session will spotlight the design, development, implementation and results from a multi-year project that built the Global UDL Virtual Classroom for faculty and educators in the US and Jamaica (Smith, Reed & Arnold, 2015). US educators were able to maximize opportunities to teach and share UDL best practices and in turn, expand their own understandings in how these aligned with Jamaican culture. Using the open platform Wordpress, this virtual classroom was designed to make learning visible, constructive, accessible and applicable through an exchange of online dialogue, demonstration, resource curation, and shared reflections about application to classroom practices. 
Educators explored this dual lens educational model and web-based approach for expanding understanding and application of UDL practice-based evidence across varied instructional and cultural contexts. UDL provided a new way for educators to understand learner's variability, leverage this as a strength, and build flexibility into instructional practice, thus expanding their adaptive expertise. Jamaican educators' perspectives captured within the virtual classroom will be shared that highlight approaches considered, successes realized, and changes made to current practices. To illustrate the value of adaptive expertise and UDL-based dialogue for building knowledge about effective instruction, we explored how inservice educators considered these frameworks as they reflected on their current practice. 
Applying innovation and problem-solving about individual environment interactions are critical skills for 21st century educators (National Research Council, 2012). The development of adaptive educator/practitioner expertise through the lens of UDL offers a transformative framework for developing responsive educators who can in turn design and deliver instruction that meets the expected variability of learner in any classroom (Meyer, Rose & Gordon, 2014). 
Classroom-based lessons learned from this international online community of practice and collaborations between practicing teachers and university faculty exploring the application of the effectiveness of UDL (Meyer et al, 2014) and adaptive expertise frameworks (De Arment, Reed, & Wetzel, 2013) proved to be invaluable. Understanding pedagogical practices and exploring new approaches allowed educators to enrich their perspectives through an iterative exchange of considering the dimensions of learner variability and test their own teacher adaptive practice. In designing this classroom, sensitivity to the economic restraints of this culture were paramount and guided best practices.
Deeper understandings shared from Jamaican educators allowed faculty and doctoral researchers to customize and personalize the online classroom into one that was responsive and culturally appropriate. As a tool, this online classroom was designed with several digital elements that allowed researchers to simultaneously capture comments and perspectives that could be analyzed to determine overall effectiveness. Responses from both emerging doctoral faculty and Jamaican educators echoed the value this classroom offered as a free and open opportunity for learning.

avatar for Serra De Arment

Serra De Arment

Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
After teaching in special education (early childhood through fifth grade) for 10 years, I now thoroughly enjoy preparing future special educators through my faculty role at VCU in our Early Childhood Special Education and Richmond Teacher Residency programs. I am as passionate about... Read More →
avatar for Frances Smith

Frances Smith

Educator/ Consultant, Recognizing Differences, LLC/ GW University
Dr. Frances (Fran) G. Smith (http://recognizingdifferences.com) has taught graduate coursework in UDL at GW University since 2003. She was a 2011-12 UDL post-doctoral fellow at CAST and Boston College Lynch School of Education. Dr. Smith represents The Vocational Evaluation and Career... Read More →

Tuesday August 1, 2017 10:00am - 10:18am EDT
Alumni Lounge