Shauna Hanna

Maximum impact: how can we measure - and promote - the growing success of UDL?

We caught up with CAST’s Allison Posey ahead of her participation at this year’s UDL-IRN Summit. Here’s what she’s got to say about telling stories, brain science... and shaping effective learning environments with the help of assistive tech.

Allison Posey

There’s a stellar line-up of educators and science experts presenting at this year’s UDL-IRN International Summit in Orlando from April 25-27.

We caught up beforehand with Curriculum Design Specialist Allison Posey of CAST, the nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand the learning opportunities of UDL to all students - wherever or not they have additional educational needs.

A thought leader in curricular design, online course instruction and professional learning programs, Allison works with educators to embed latest findings from brain research into instructional practices  - helping all students become expert learners. A life science teacher specialising in neuroscience and psychology, she graduated in Mind, Brain, and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education where she also taught courses including Educational Neuroscience and Framing Scientific Research for Public Understanding.
“It’s important to remember that there’s lots of good neuroscience behind UDL” notes Allison. She’ll be peppering the session with examples from real-world cognitive research - like a maturing view of the interplay between different brain states - that are constantly driving our understanding forward. She’ll also be highlighting the central role of emotions in learning - a starting point for any successful educational strategy.
And what’s Allison’s call to action for UDL-IRN delegates this year?
“Spreading the word about UDL depends on sharing real stories of its efficacy from real educators. As a community we’ve got to work harder to gather those stories and make them available in a meaningful way. Take just one illustration - like a teacher who’s seen a 68 percent drop in absenteeism since they implemented UDL strategies in class. “There are thousands of these anecdotes - some big, some tiny - and we need to synthesize a wider picture out of them.”
Allison will be reflecting on UDL’s expanded mission, from its roots in brain science as a tool to engage learners in a clinical setting, to newer understanding that its guidelines can help all students - and all educators.
Just as importantly, she’ll be paying tribute to the pioneering work of recently-retired CAST founder and UDL visionary David Rose:
“David re-framed the whole concept of education. He spun it around from the classical picture that it’s about ‘deficits’ - and argued instead it’s really about opportunities. He was a master storyteller. And at UDL-IRN this year I’m appealing to the next generation of educators that it’s time to pick up David’s baton.” 

View the full programme of speakers and activities at this year’s UDL-IRN Summit 2018 here.


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