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Universal Design for Learning: Canadian Perspectives

Sowing the Seeds, Facilitating the Change, Nurturing the Growth

A collage of words related to Universal Design for Learning

May 20th to May 22nd, 2015 at McGill University

Context

Perspectives on access are changing rapidly in education. The medical model is being questioned with increasing frequency in the K-12 and the post-secondary sectors, and actors in the field are seeking ways to translate a social model construct of disability into daily teaching practices. Retrofitting no longer appeals from a social justice perspective, nor does it appear sustainable in our respective institutions. This context helps us understand why Universal Design for Learning is gaining in popularity.  Curriculum planning and delivery, as well as evaluation methods, clearly need to be reviewed if we hope to address the cognitive and emotional diversity of our student population. UDL implementation began, in the US, some years back thanks to the leadership of CAST and Do-It. It is now time, in Canada, for educators and administrators to assess how useful UDL will be in future efforts to address the growing diversity of our student population.


Goals

The aim of this conference is to highlight some of the current initiatives and efforts deployed across the country, as well as to identify avenues for future development and ongoing implementation. The conference aims to create an original Canadian voice around the topic of UDL. It also aims to facilitate the creation of networks amongst the practitioners involved in UDL implementation and to allow for a sharing of practices and resources that are specific to the Canadian context.


Who Should Attend?

The conference targets both K-12 and post-secondary educators and administrators. There are five identified streams and each will be offered specifically with a look at K-12 and post-secondary education respectively. The streams are:

  • Sowing the seeds: Where do I start?  What resources are appropriate to my context? How do I get colleagues involved and create momentum?
  • Facilitating the change: How is UDL best implemented? How do we trigger institutional interest? What are the key factors in involving educators in UDL?
  • Nurturing the growth: How can UDL implementation be made systematic? How do we obtain buy-in in the most adverse environments? What resources are needed for global implementation?   
  • UDL & Diversity:  Looking beyond disability, at the usefulness of UDL in developing social justice, with a particular focus on UDL and cultural diversity.
  • Beginner stream:  UDL 101 will aim to introduce educators and administrators who are not familiar with the three principles to the basics of UDL literature and practice.

A beginner stream will also be available.  UDL 101 will aim to introduce educators and administrators who are not familiar with the three principles to the basics of UDL literature and practice.


Venue

The conference will be held on May 20th to 22nd, 2015 on the McGill downtown campus. Suggestions for accommodation and McGill preferred rates will be available to participants. The conference organizers welcome submissions in both French and English, though simultaneous translation will not be available. Participants will be able to book sign language interpreting when registering for the conference. The program will open with a keynote presentation at 5pm on Wednesday May 20th, followed by a welcome reception; this will be followed by two full days of concurrent presentations. Online registration will open on January 1st, 2015. The cost of registration will be:

Early bird January 1st to February 15th: CAD$200

Speaker registration (until March 15th): CAD$200

Student price (no deadline): CAD$100

Registration after February 15th: CAD$250


Call for Submissions

The conference organizers welcome submissions in both French and English, though simultaneous translation will not be available. Participants will be able to book sign language interpreters when registering for the conference. Online registration will open on January 1st, 2015.  The call for submissions is now open and will close on December 15th, 2014.  The selection process will be a ‘double blind’ peer review.   Individuals who have been selected to present at the conference will be informed of the review decision on January 15th, 2015.  You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt when your submission reaches us but decisions will all be issued at once on January 15th, 2015. You will find a proposal submission form at the end of this page. The proposal submission form should reach us by email at frederic [dot] fovet [at] mcgill [dot] ca.  At least one of the authors must attend the conference if selected.

Proposal Submission Guidelines:

Abstract

Presenters are asked to submit an abstract. The abstract is a concise description of your session and will be included in the conference program. It should give participants the most important information about what the session will cover.

Program description

The program description should not exceed 400 words and does not require in text references. The program description will be used to obtain detailed information about your presentation. The reviewers will base their decisions on the content presented in the program description. When writing your program description, please make sure to refer to the selected stream. Clearly indicate how your presentation fits its objectives. 

Presentation Formats

There will be two accepted presentation formats: round table workshops (60 minutes) or speaker led TED talk style (45 minutes).  In both instances we encourage the presenters to keep UDL in mind when designing their presentation material and to model the three principles in their interactions with participants.

A compilation of all articles submitted will be produced following the conference and all accepted authors will have the opportunity to submit a 3,000 to 5,000 word article. If you have any questions about the submission process, you can also email us at the above address.

Thank you for your interest in the Universal Design for Learning: Canadian Perspectives Conference!


Call for Submissions

You can download the registration form by clicking on the following link: Universal Design for Learning Conference Call for Submissions Form.pdf