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Universal Design for Learning in Environmental Education: Online Course and Toolkit

EENC believes environmental education and resources should be accessible to all communities. This spring, EENC is thrilled to announce two new resources to help you to better serve diverse populations, specifically those with learning differences, physical accessibility needs, and language barriers.

The Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC) and the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) in California have teamed up with Silver’s Lining PLLC and additional content experts to develop a new “Universal Design for Learning in Environmental Education” online course. This course will encourage educators to reflect deeply on their practice, focusing on how they plan and teach - not just what they teach.

Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, improves and optimizes teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. It is a framework to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and challenging for all, rather than making modifications for individual students’ needs. Ultimately, the goal of UDL is to support learners to become “expert learners” who are, each in their own way, purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-driven. While there are a number of trainings and resources about UDL in the classroom, this course focuses on how UDL shows up in environmental and outdoor education settings.

Here’s what some of our pilot participants had to say:

  • “By honing in on the core goal(s) of any activity instructors can let go of the "this is how it's supposed to be done" that has traditionally surrounded that goal and work to open up options for how students engage that let each student meet the goal in a way that works well for them.”

  • “I feel that the principles of UDL support EE by creating a learning environment that integrates other ways of knowing and being...Within the environment/nature it is important to note that many people come to experience nature in various ways.”

  • “One of the most impactful lessons I have taken away from this course is providing choice and many different mediums is a simple way to reduce barriers for many learners. This action takes a little more effort but is well worth the extra few minutes to gather additional tools or write in varied ways to collect evaluation data into a lesson.”

Our first public cohort will open July 1, 2022 - so stay tuned for registration info coming soon!


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