Shauna Hanna

Cross continents: Translating UDL between people and places


At Texthelp we’re proud supporters of this year’s UDL-IRN International Summit that’s taking place in Orlando from April 25-27.

One of many inspiring international speakers at this year’s event is Chrissie Butler of CORE Education Tātai Aho Rau, CORE is a not-for-profit professional services company with a focus on education and learning. Its mission is to push the boundaries of educational possibility.  A key player in the development of the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s ‘Inclusive Education’ website, Chrissie is a leading figure in driving national policy around Universal Design for Learning and inclusivity. 


UDL-IRN Summit Logo


So Chrissie – what insights on UDL are you bringing all the way from New Zealand to Florida?

“Well it’s a two-way journey, really. At this year’s Summit I’ll be talking about translating UDL across continents. More specifically, I’m going to ask how a distinctly US-based approach to UDL can be translated back to my own country.

“You can think about the implementation of UDL worldwide as a densely woven mat of many strands. And I’m going to be looking at one strand in particular – the evolution of UDL in Aotearoa, which is the Māori name for New Zealand.

“There’s already a number of examples in my country where UDL has become firmly embedded in educational practice, and it’s growing all the time. 

“At CORE we’re creating resources to help schools implement UDL strategies at both primary and secondary school level. We’re also working directly with schools who are keen to adopt more flexible approaches but want to ensure they work for everyone. UDL is the perfect partner in that journey. And that’s because it offers a uniquely powerful, flexible framework for us to design and build inclusive learning environments.

“Geographically we’re a small country, and we’re also profoundly bicultural. Here in New Zealand UDL has additional relevance as a positive enabler for genuine inclusion across those different cultural strands that make up our nation.

“It’s easy to talk about being ‘inclusive’. But what does that really mean? At this year’s Summit I’ll be arguing that UDL gives us some practical handholds – and a shared language – to explore what truly inclusive learning solutions might look like in a wide range of social, geographical and cultural contexts.”

Check out the full programme of speakers and activities at this year’s UDL-IRN Summit 2018 - we hope to see you there!

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