Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD launched the annual Universal Design for Learning Conference at Atlantic Technological University in Sligo.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, which guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences and cater for the wide range of diversity in our lecture rooms.
The annual ATU conference on Universal Design for Learning is an opportunity for academics, advocates, practitioners, and students from across the country to explore how good design can lead to greater ability to learn for everyone.
Launching the Atlantic Technological University’s 2022 UDL conference in Sligo, Minister Harris praised ATU for leading the way in Ireland on UDL;
“I’m delighted this conference is going to specifically consider the student voice and their perspective of UDL. We are about making sure we embed Universal Design for Learning so that every student can reach their best potential. I want to commend everyone here at ATU Sligo for the substantial progress you have already made when it comes to UDL, for the high-quality education experience you ae providing to students and making education more accessible for a much wider range of learners. You are leading the way here in Sligo when it comes to UDL.”
The ATU Universal Design for Learning (UDL) conference included discussions in numerous approaches to UDL through an exploration of shared best inclusive practice. Through creating an awareness of a cross-campus approach to implementing a culture of inclusion and diversity, the ATU has made significant strides in climbing the UDL ladder to bring this vision to reality.
Dr Niamh Plunkett, Head of Teaching & Learning at ATU Sligo says UDL provides for each students unique learning needs:
“Together with our ATU & St. Angela’s College colleagues, this conference will bring Higher & Further Education Institutes and Networks together to examine and reflect on UDL practices within programmes to ensure the student learning experience provides for the unique learning needs of students in a changing world”.
The annual conference included keynote speaker Dr Seán Bracken, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Principal Lecturer at the University of Worcester said;
“I was impressed by the shared passion there is among colleagues from ATU for adopting an inclusive approach to teaching, learning and assessment across all disciplines. That passion is underpinned by an informed sense of purpose, which bodes really well as the University progresses towards meeting the learning needs of all students across the West and North West of the country. It was a genuine privilege and pleasure to spend time with such dedicated colleagues, and I’ve been inspired by what I’ve learned about current and future UDL initiatives”.