Promoting Inclusive Learning: Communities of Practice, Accessibility and a UDL driven Lens

O'Shaughnessy, Thomas Promoting Inclusive Learning: Communities of Practice, Accessibility and a UDL driven Lens.


This presentation will begin by addressing a paradigm shift in Irish education where mainstreaming of supports is driving changes in both policy and practice. While UDL may not be a new concept, in Ireland, our educational systems are finally witnessing UDL permeate into all facets of our Irish educational system from primary to postsecondary and further education and into initial teacher education. While the process is slow, change is occurring. Nowhere is this change more evident than across our HEI institutes. The presentation will argue this change as a real opportunity to bring UDL and accessibility to the fore of Irelands educational policy and practice.

The presentation will focus heavily on one accessibility practitioner's approach to drive inclusive and accessible practice under the guise of a UDL lens, an approach that aims to target all students and not just particular cohorts. It will emphasise the inherent relationship that exists between UDL and accessibility and the symbiotic relationship that can often bind technology to these two drivers of inclusive practice. It details the experience of changes in accessible practice and changes in leadership reinforced with national and European legislation. It discusses the formation of the technology driven community of practice which began to promote UDL and inclusive practice. It discusses the fluid and dynamic nature of this community of practice has is manoeuvred to meet a changing educational landscape. It discusses new strategic projects aimed at supporting inclusive practice under UDL, catering to the needs of all students.

Furthermore, it will discuss the on-campus collaborations on UDL and accessibility, the growth of UDL through the influence of national agencies and calls for the creation of a Community of Practice linking other UDL community of practices.

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