Universal design, learning communities topics of upcoming Blumberg Center Workshops

January 1 2006

NOTE: Currently the PATINS Project has 22 UDL pilot sites. Twelve sites are in their second year and 10 teams are in their first year. A complete list of sites is available on the PATINS Web site at http://www.patinsproject.com/universal_design_for_learning_project.htm. None of the pilot sites are in Vigo County, but this workshop is an opportunity to get the word out about UDL in hopes that area schools will join the effort.

As part of the 1997 Disabilities Education Improvement Act reauthorization, all students, regardless of their abilities, must be given the opportunity to become involved with and progress in the general education curriculum. Every student must have access to what is being taught. Providing "access," however, is more than simply supplying every student with a textbook or a computer. Teachers must ensure that students are actively engaged in learning. This, after all, is the foundation of "Universal Design for Learning (UDL)." In essence, it means that instructional materials and activities will be designed to enable individuals with a wide range of abilities to reach the learning goals set forth for them. "Universal Design for Learning" is the topic of a Feb. 23 workshop sponsored by Indiana State University's Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education. Vicki Hershman, state project director of PATINS (Promoting Achievement through Technology and INstruction for all Students) will lead the discussion from 1 to 3 p.m. in the conference room of the Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop (corner of 9th Street and Wabash Avenue). The presentation is free and open to the public.

The PATINS Project works to provide access to technology tools and instruction on UDL, so every student can participate and progress within the general curriculum, maximizing learning opportunities for all.

On March 9, the Blumberg Center will sponsor a presentation on "Professional Learning Communities (PLC): What are they and why are they important?" The event will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. in Room 307 of Indiana State's Hulman Memorial Student Union. As part of this session, a team from Southwest Parke School District will be on hand for a panel discussion on this topic. Other teachers and administrators also are encouraged to attend to share their PLC success stories. Recommended reading for this discussion is "On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities", (2005) by the National Education Service.

For more information about either of these Blumberg Center events or to register, please contact Donna Leggett at (812) 237-2830 or dleggett2@isugw.indstate.edu

Contact: Leah Nellis, director, Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education, associate professor of special education, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2830 or lnellis@isugw.indstate.edu

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