An Introduction to the Tips, Techniques and Tools of UDL

Nicole Demos, a disabled inclusive educator for over 32 years, holds an MA in Education and an MEd in International Counseling. Nicole worked in Greece, the US, Russia and the UK before teaching Learning Support at the International School of Helsinki. She has presented workshops on educational trends, and participated in podcasts and blogs. As an active member of the Diversability Leadership Collective and SENIA Europe, Nicole strives to educate on the importance of inclusion, disability identity, advocacy, equity and belonging. Since leaving ISH Nicole has recently discovered a love for writing and has published poetry online at This has led to her writing another poem to be included in a Danish architectural press publication highlighting diversity and inclusion, In addition, Nicole has also been nominated to Diversability’s 2024 D-30 Disability Impact List for her continued efforts. Her hobbies include reading, singing, baking, spending time with friends and her toy poodle Sisu.

Teaching is considered to be the noblest of professions and with this in mind, consider this timeline. Each year teachers participate in orientation meetings where the latest trend is presented as the item that directly depicts the school’s mission and vision with great enthusiasm. First a brief overview which may include a participatory activity, an article to be read or an inspirational video to watch, is only followed by a brief reflection or discussion that leads to promises for future professional development. However, in the interest of time our focus reverts to facilitating a smooth start of the year, lesson planning begins and the school routine. Covering curriculum, testing and assigning menial tasks are intertwined with behavior management, meetings, observations, endless paperwork amidst a mountain of emails. As a quiet consequence the latest trend fades into a distant memory, brushed under the carpet.

Is this the timeline that we teachers wish to follow without question? How do we prepare our students to succeed in an ever changing and challenging world? Do we have the resources and stamina to ensure that our profession is still the noblest of all?

In an effort to answer the above questions I hope to offer UDL or Universal Design of learning as a viable, necessary avenue for continued consistent growth.

Universal Design for Learning is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Recognizing the value of being in an equitable and accessible learning diverse environment should be a core belief of any inclusive educator at this present time. In my presentation I will share the following:

Overview of UDL – definitions, purpose,(WHO,WHAT, WHY) four principles

Research – highlighting the benefits, data driven statistics, available articles

Showing and Sharing of Successful Tips, Techniques and Tools of UDL for all learners in classroom including how to prevent possible challenges

Resources – websites, UDL planning guide, links, videos

Nicole will be presenting on Day 3 of the UDL conference in parallel Session I: Sharing best practice, follow the link to the conference programme to find out how you can get involved.

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