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National Conference 2020

Caroline Torres

Kapi'olani Community College

Pre-Recorded • Material and Course Design, ELT and Critical Disability Studies • LIVE

Caroline Torres

Kapi'olani Community College

Talk / Universal Design for Learning and Digital Tools for Language Learners

Co-Presenter: Kavita Rao

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) increases access to instruction through lessons strategically designed to support students’ varied needs (CAST, 2015) and is a powerful support for K-12 and post-secondary English learners (ELs) (Rao & Torres, 2016). Based on neuroscience research, UDL is a framework to design with learners’ variability in mind (Meyer, Rose, & Gordon, 2014), instead of designing for “average” learners, using a reactive approach to supporting struggling students. UDL’s compatibility with language development and culturally responsive teaching principles make UDL an ideal framework for supporting and engaging diverse ELs. Digital tools, when implemented intentionally and aligned with UDL to support language development, can also be maximize access, comprehension, and engagement for ELs. Participants will learn about the principles of UDL and how they align to effective language development. In addition, free and low-cost UDL-aligned digital tools to support language development in K-12 and post-secondary classrooms will be shared.

About Caroline

Caroline Torres is an assistant professor at Kapi‘olani Community College, teaching Second Language Teaching to pre-service and a TESOL licensure program to in-service teachers in addition to Writing to non-native speakers of English. She also provides professional development on supporting English learners and culturally and linguistically diverse students to K-12 teachers. She has worked in schools across the Hawaiian islands and in Japan. Her research interests include culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, including ELLs and CLD students with disabilities, Universal Design for Learning, Evidence-Based Practices, grit and growth mindset, and writing instruction, including Self-regulated Strategy Development.

About Kavita Rao

University of Hawaii

Kavita Rao is professor at College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research focuses on instructional and assistive technology, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), online learning, and technology-related strategies for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Kavita’s prior professional experiences include working as a school technology coordinator in Massachusetts and as a specialist for Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). She has worked with schools and districts in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Kavita is a member of CAST’s UDL Professional Learning cadre and has conducted workshops on UDL implementation and technology integration for schools and districts in the US, the Pacific islands, and Asia.