Episode 5: Talking about the John Kelly Award for UDL and collaborative practices with Dara Ryder and Daniel Elliott

S2 Ep7: Talking about the potential of Assistive Technology for everyone with Trevor Boland Talking about all things inclusion

In this conversation Dara Ryder and Daniel Elliott talk with me about the growing UDL community in Further and Higher Education in Ireland, the importance of peer-support, and the work their organisations (AHEAD and University for All in UCD) are doing to support equity and inclusion. They share the story of John Kelly’s legacy before talking about the new John Kelly Awards for UDL and collaborative practices launching April 25th 2022.

Resources from this episode

The John Kelly Awards

AHEAD website

University for All website

ARK: Accessibility Resources and Know-How

AHEAD Journal

University for All Symposium (May 26)

GATHER Summer School (May 31-June 2)

Transcript of this episode


UDL, John Kelly Award, support, inclusion, higher education, FET,


Margaret Flood, Dara Ryder, Daniel Elliot

Margaret Flood  00:00

Welcome to talking about all things inclusion, a podcast where I get to meet and learn from people in the field of inclusion in its broadest sense that inspire me. I hope they’ll inspire you to. Today we’re taking a break from my North American season to learn about the ahead John Kelly award for UDL. And talking to me about this is a head CEO Dara rider, and Daniel L. Eliot, Project Officer for university for all in UCD. Ahead is an independent nonprofit organisation working to create inclusive environments and education and employment for people with disabilities. The main focus of a heads work is further education and training, higher education and graduate employment have provides information to students and graduates with disabilities, teachers, guidance counsellors, and parents on disability issues in education. It undertakes national research relating to the inclusion of students with disabilities, contributes to national policy forums, and provide professional development opportunities to develop the capacity of staff and FET and higher education to be more inclusive. I’ve been a fan of ahead since my days in the classroom, and to have had the opportunity to attend conferences and engage in conversations with many of the staff over the years. Der we actually first met at a cast symposium in Boston many years ago now. So I’m so delighted to have you and Daniel, on the podcast today to speak with you more about ahead. And this exciting new inclusive practice award, you’re launching.

Dara Ryder  01:34

Thanks very much, Mags. It’s great to be here.

Margaret Flood  01:36

Okay, so just to start you off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work with a head?

Dara Ryder  01:43

Sure. And it’s great that you’re taking a break from your North American seasons come back home to us, we are missing you there for a while. So it’s lovely. I know you’ve had your travels in North America recently. So it’s lovely to speak with you again. Yeah, I suppose maybe it’s just useful to tell you a little bit about the history of ahead, because it kind of frames a lot of the work we do. Our story is sort of representative of who we are and and the direction of travel with our work. So it started back in the late 1980s. And it’s a great story, actually, in University College Dublin, where where Daniel is actually working now, one of the largest colleges in Ireland, and there was a blind student there by the name of geriatrics. At the time, really, there was no disability support services in Ireland whatsoever across all the HE institutions have very little support for these students. And Jerry was essentially navigating higher education with the help of his family, they were acting as his personal assistants, reading his books, helping them get around the campus. And I suppose Jerry got fed up with this, really. And he went to the registrar of UCD, who at the time, was the chaplain of Professor John Kelly. And he basically said, this isn’t good enough. And John, thankfully had a very receptive areas of very progressive man, John Kerry. And he immediately said about supporting Jerry and doing something about this problem. So his first meal was actually to set up this small community of students with disabilities in the college, which, which are started with a bench outside the canteen, which he designated as this weekly meeting place. And John provided tea and coffee. So it started as kind of a peer support community really. So it’s very much embedded in the student community, in student views and authentic student experiences. But really, that eventually grill which adds support over time, into a national movement. So what our colleges became, came on board, and eventually in the mid 1990s, into an independent NGO, and we expanded down from my work from higher education into also looking at further education and training. And on into graduate employment, as you realise, we’re starting to have this big success with graduation from college, far more numerous access in college. But actually, the problems were then just been pushed further down the line, because we saw that access to graduate employment and was was very, very difficult. So I suppose that’s an indication of where we are, you know, over time where we’ve gone. And I suppose typically, what would have happened in the past is that our work would have been largely with disability support officers. So we would have been engaging with them around the kind of quality provision of reasonable accommodations. And we still, of course, do that work today and support those amazing professionals in their roles. But really, over time, our reach has gone much more across the campus. So we’ve looked at engaging with all sorts of different professionals in the examinations offices in the libraries and careers in the international office. But also, a really big focus of our work is with the teaching and learning professionals. And we began to see really that what was happening an awful lot with how we support and students with disabilities was that we were essentially putting up ladders for them as a support to get over barriers in the environment, rather than focusing on the barriers themselves. So we began to suppose shift our focus from the ladders to smashing down the walls in the first place for want of a better kind of analogy. But yeah, so that really brought us to where we’re at today, which is that we have a really, really keen interest in support and inclusive teaching and learning and particular a very strategic interest in the emotion of Universal Design for Learning. And what’s interesting, I suppose in terms of the relationship between ourselves and Daniel, and maybe we’re going to talk a little bit I think today about the John Kelly award later, but John Kerry is actually was really pivotal in the formation of the disability and access services that Daniel works in at the university as well.

Margaret Flood  05:20

And Dara, like you, this really is a community project that you are building and you are developing, and you talked about smashing those barriers. It’s not even about the ladder to get over them. It’s about spot smashing them. And you talked about UDL. Could you tell us a little bit about some of the programmes or the projects you have running ahead at the moment?

Dara Ryder  05:43

Sure. Yeah. I mean, head does a huge range of work in around the UDL sphere. So we’re doing a lot of training with individuals producing a lot of guidance, not a free guidance on our website, actually, which is really, really good for your community, that your listeners. But one of the really interesting projects that kind of symbolises as far as this huge expansion of interest in Ireland explosion of interest in around the topic of UDL is our UDL badge programme, which is also delivered in partnership with UCD. So we developed a badge with UCD. And it’s delivered as part of the National Forum for the enhancement of teaching and learnings professional development system. So it means if you’d like this body, which are responsible for promoting excellence and quality in teaching and learning, the participants of our badge actually get a badge award from that, buddy. And what’s really interesting about this programme is it’s 25 hours. That takes place over 10 weeks, people actually do UDL, and I sort of do a UDL design activities that actually implementing and delivering UDL teaching activities in real time as part of the course. But what’s really interesting about it, is that we take a really community and hands on this. So they actually learn as a community as they go through the UDL badge itself. So we use a peer group system, the peer groups actually have a really strong role in the completion of the badge to the verification of the badge, that kind of peer to peer verification of the work that’s going on. So there’s a real community aspect and how it’s actually delivered, or how the learners actually experience it. But it’s also a big community aspect and how it’s delivered. So we’re actually rolling the badge, with in partnership with institutions all over the further and higher education system. And we actually have this system of peer group facilitators, which actually help us to deliver to our local level. So to give you an example, in our last national revenue divide, which took place just before Christmas, there, we issued 771, badges across Further and Higher Education and Ireland. But we actually had 86, local facilitators working with us to deliver the programme right across the country. So if you’d like it’s this massive community effort to equity and inclusion in further and higher education. And that’s one of my favourite things about the badge, because the community here in Orange is really, really passionate, and responsive, and people going well over and above what they have to give them their daily roles to act to advance equity and inclusion in teaching and learning.

Margaret Flood  08:02

Absolutely. And it really is, you’ve spoken about community, that community has really grown, I think you were like 500, last year in the height of COVID. And now you’re offering over 800. So that is a huge growth. And as you said, it’s all about the community. And I suppose Daniel like community is embodied in the title of your your work like it’s University for all, and it goes back to a big part of that UDL badge was making that one small change at a time to have this community and have this space for everyone. Daniel, could you tell us a little bit about the university for all and again, how the UDL badge may support that over in UCD?

Daniel Elliott  08:44

Yes, absolutely. Thanks, Mags. So University for all is, is the big strategic initiative that we’re championing here, looking, as Dara said, to really remove those barriers. So it’s about mainstreaming inclusion right across the university. So that we’re not looking at alternative entry routes, we’re not looking at work arounds and reasonable accommodations, we’re looking at levelling the playing field for all students, regardless of what background they come from, what programme they’re doing here. So it’s got four pillars that support it, which are teaching and learning and the students support. Then we have the IT infrastructure and the built environment. And on top of that, then you’ve got the kind of policy and strategy that that overarching or for those universal design for learning, of course, fits into that first pillar in teaching and learning. So Lisa Patton, who is my colleague and manager has been working with Dara and behead team to develop that digital badge and and has been pivotal I think, in the rollout of that but What we started last year was a faculty Partnership Programme which we used the FSD funding was the phone for students with disabilities. And we had funding there to go towards this faculty Partnership Programme, which basically gave faculty right across the university. So we have 27, teaching faculty, it gave them a pot of money. But I think more importantly than that, it gave them a platform to say, you know, this is something that the university is valuing it is within our university strategy and policies. And it is part of the teaching and rolling a teaching and learning pillar. So it’s been really fascinating to see the work that they are doing in really different contexts. They’re looking at, you know, architectural studios, they’re looking at electrical engineering and how you look at describing electrical circuits to its students who might be visually impaired. They’re also championing the rollout of the digital badge as well, it’s been doing local rollouts of the badge this spring. So we’ll have another group of people joining that cohort. And they’ve also been supporting the national rollouts as well. So that’s really where we’re seeing a lot of the work going. And they’re using those budgets in really exciting and different ways. But it’s just allowing them to carve out that bit of space. Because as Dara said, there, you know, most of the people who are practitioners UDL are doing in their spare time, you know, and it’s about convincing people who don’t really know yet about what Universal Design is that this is, you’re already doing it, you may not realise, but you’re already doing it. And it doesn’t have to be something extra that you do when you’re redesigning a curriculum, or you’re you’re revitalising your teaching materials.

Margaret Flood  12:13

And what’s really interesting is both of you have leaned heavily into the community aspect, but both of you have also leaned into the peer support aspect of this work. Can you tell me why that is? It’s working so well within either UCD or AHEAD or even within the UDL badge, and the way you’re rolling that out and the way educators are engaging with it?

Dara Ryder  12:40

Yeah, I think, really, I suppose it’s a very, it’s part of a principle of who we are and ahead anyway, is that we’re better together, we can’t achieve anything if we don’t do it together in unison. But also, it’s about recognising that this is a shared goal for a better sight, you know, a better world. And I think engaging that side of people, as professionals, really interesting thing happens when you do that, you know, you actually you kind of pull people out of the professional spirit sphere a little bit, and recognise that they’re contributing not just in their initial and individual realms, but they have something to offer as a within their sphere of influence. So it’s really encouraging people to be little sneaky advocates in their work, and everywhere they go, and making sure that in every meeting that they have, you know, where they see opportunities to advance the ideas, which we believe will help us to make a better world if we don’t get into hallmarking about this, is that, you know, I think that’s by tapping into that aspect of people. That that helps us to shift the culture. And we all know, this is all about culture. You know, what’s the famous line culture eats strategy for breakfast, you can put that or you can put it Yeah, and a piece about equity and inclusion in a policy. But really, if it doesn’t have buy in from people, then it’s going to get nowhere. So that’s why we take that approach as a community. What makes it really successful is that I suppose first of all, everyone has this kind of shared experience and shared dialogue, shared understanding, even shared terminology, all these things are actually really helpful in advancing the kind of Equity and Inclusion message. In the rollout more practically speaking, what’s really useful, actually, is that rather than all of these little individual pockets of training and things are happening all around the country, the national programme means that all of this is happening at the same time. So you get Twitter being alive with the conversation, for example, we try to use social tools as part of the delivery of the course to maximise those opportunities. So it kind of creates its own momentum. You know, and I think that’s a really important part. But you know, Daniel, you probably have views on this as well.

Daniel Elliott  14:45

Yeah, I think with the rollout of the digital bands, you know, one of the things that we’ve seen is that people really enjoy the peer aspect of it and they’re talking to people that they wouldn’t or narrowly talk to, you know, the writer talking with people in different he is or they’re talking with people in the in the FET context, you know, which they don’t get to hear from day to day. And that really, they learn from each other in such a rich different way it gives them viewpoints that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to, you know, we all get in our silos. And then I think as well, and a microcosm of that with the faculty Partnership Programme, is that they’re, you know, people in in the College of Science are talking with people in law, and they think about things very differently. So they are saying, I love that idea, I’m going to, you know, very friendly knob that idea, and I’m going to run with it and roll with it in this in my own context. So there’s, there’s such rich conversations to be had. And this friendly, I think, sharing or stealing, quote, unquote, that goes on that really people benefit from hugely

Dara Ryder  16:02

Yeah, I think as well. I mean, that’s, that’s sharing and stealing. But that is very important. I suppose it’s very important value of the UDL community here is not one that’s written down on any piece of paper, of course, but something that I see everywhere. And we try to model that in our own work in terms of that duty. Our badge like is a Creative Commons programme. So all of the materials are available for anyone across the world to be able to use, as well as doing these national rollouts that I’ve mentioned, that said, we still have a train in the train or Pisa. And people can go and do their own local routes themselves. And that happens quite a lot. We now have about almost 2000 People who’ve taken the UDL badge since its inception, three years ago. So it’s a really significant number. And a good chunk of that number is people going after that and doing it in their own institutions. I think what’s really useful about the community model, and about I suppose, understanding UDL as a concept in through that community, is because sometimes, it’s a bit daunting to engage with as a framework when you first approach it. And, you know, sometimes the language if, you know, can be a small barrier to engagement initially, because it’s also it’s a non prescriptive framework, which is actually its strength as a framework. But it actually does require people to interpret it for their context for their learners for their subject matter. And I think the community bit really helps with that. Because it that can only really be resolved through reflective dialogue. And I think that just happens naturally within the community. And then within our chorus, more, more main and more structured way.

Margaret Flood  17:32

And both of you like you both talked about the stealing and borrowing and you made it sound a bit like a stealth mission, get UDL in there, but it’s actually not your like I mean, what you didn’t say it’s actually it’s you’re sharing the learning, like as you said are like all of your all of the resources on ahead are free, and they’re being built all of the time. And Daniel I know in your office like it’s everyone can come in ask the questions get the information, as you said you’re going cross campus it’s not just Holcomb campus in in silos, you’re going cross campus, you’re getting the physicists to talk to the lawyers, and this is what is growing. UDL and Dara, you talked about the non-prescriptive of the prescriptive pneus of the UDL guidelines being their strength along with community and reflection. But also what is what is the strength is actually the celebration of learners strengths, and the celebration of using strength in our learning and teaching in whatever environment whether it’s higher education further age, and whatever discipline it is within that environment as well.

Dara Ryder  18:42

Sure, it’s a massive, massive kind of value of the of the whole UDL framework. And I think sometimes within that, you know, there is a perception from, from a certain part of the hygienic and higher ed community. There might be a perception there that it’s all a bit. It’s all a bit sort of happy, happy days. happy go lucky, you know, but actually, I think it’s a it’s a strong misconception that, although it’s very strengths based UDL, you’re not. It’s actually really about optimising the challenge. And I was like, that’s what it’s about. It’s about reducing barriers to accessing the challenge in the first place, not reducing the challenge, you know, because let’s face it, I mean, Challenge is a key part of learning, we actually only learn and develop. When we come up against difficulty, really, I mean, we have to come up against difficult problems, difficult, difficult content, and overcome that to develop and grow as people. So I think that’s one of the big misconceptions out there about UDL that we like to address in our work, that it really is about optimising the challenge and making sure that people have parity of access to the challenge in the first place. And we’re doing some really interesting work at the moment in a head on digital accessibility, because it’s, there’s a whole series of new kind of legal regulation that’s coming into place in the European Union in recent years. And we’re kind of trying to start Arthur, but I suppose the error message there is even for example with regard to that is that accessibility is actually a foundational principle of UDL. Because again, if you don’t provide that digital access as a foundation, then people can’t access the challenge in the first place. So we have a new suite of short courses, again, freely available on the AHEAD website on their, on their diviner of architects, accessibility resources, and no. So that’s another piece of strong piece of work that we’re doing as well.

Margaret Flood  20:25

And just then talking about, like, you know, setting people challenges and celebrating the achievement of the challenges. I just like to move on to the exciting piece of news that we are here to talk about, which is the launch of the John Kelly Award, which recognises good practice in UDL, and also in collaborative practices, if I, if I’m correct there as well. Daniel, would you like to tell us a little bit about this award and where the idea came from?

Daniel Elliott  20:53

Absolutely, Mags. So, you know, as Dara said, UCD, and AHEAD have had a close relationship since the days of John Kelly. And really the the opportunity, I think, came about for us to relaunch the award and reinvigorate it after a two year hiatus. And so it’s building on that partnership we already have. And but also, you know, we recognise that there’s with almost 2000 practitioners nationally, or recipients of the badge nationally, if there’s plenty more UDL practitioners out there, you know, we’ve a much bigger pool of potential winners. And, you know, we want to recognise the good practice that’s out there, there’s a wealth of expertise that we know about anecdotally. But we want to give it a platform with these awards. And we also then want to, to recognise RM, you know, award, those Trailblazers out there. And, you know, the awards are, are also paid serve in that community that our topic, you know, they are really hands on, they’re doing it outside of their regular hours, they’re giving huge amount of energy to this. And they’re also, you know, they are not just implementing UDL in the room practice, but they are pushing their colleagues, their centres and their colleges to adopt to so we’ve got two awards, we have an individual award, which have two subsections, that he eyes and then FET. And they both have the same application, we know they’re both on the same platform, but you know, we’re very much wants to do an Oprah Winfrey era and give as many awards as possible to, to, to those people in the sector. And then we have the the UDL and collaboration award. And that is looking at what we are beginning to see out there. And institutions and organisations and centres are beginning to embed it into their structures and policies and their culture. And that’s both happening from that kind of organic, you know, grassroots level, but then it’s also happening on that top level. And, you know, whether it’s presidents or managers or directors are sitting up and going, Hey, we’ve we’ve we’ve got to embed this and accept us within within our, our contexts. So it’s really is looking at the how groups of people are collaborating to embed it into the very fabric of what they’re doing. And, you know, a lot of that is, in some ways happening by osmosis already. People don’t realise that doing it so that the awards and the application give people the opportunity to kind of really self reflect and say, Well, how did you go about it? You know, what stages? We definitely do? You know, I like to think about it when you actually go and prepare for an interview, you know, rather than saying, oh, like, did the thing you actually have to think about? Well, actually, what steps should I take in order to get here? So we’re really looking to expand those awards. And as I say, capture all that good practice out there, also hoping to what we’ll be able to do as publisher, and a special edition of the head journal, and really capture all of that, and, you know, put it out there in the realm of, you know, for people to access some redirect.

Dara Ryder  24:43

Yeah, I think that’s part of the game. It’s not just back to the stealing and sharing, but actually, a major purpose of the award is to create more materials for people to steal and share, you know, to really celebrate that good practice and recognition, isn’t it?

Daniel Elliott  24:57

Yeah, absolutely.

Dara Ryder  00:00

And yeah, I suppose another facet to that work that’s really interesting that we’re doing with UCD. And it relates to the awards is that we’re looking for areas of expansion outside of the teaching and learning zone zone, looking at the application of universal design, to all of the other roles that are out there on campus. So one of the projects that we’re engaging with, over the course of the next year, is the development of a new badge, which is around Universal Design in students support and engagement. And that’s really taking a broad look at essentially all of the non classroom based professionals on the campus. And we’re aiming to see, I suppose have to an exploratory course, to enable people to reflect we’re actually going to use the UDL framework and the principles in to reflect on what that actually means for them as professionals in their role and how they can look apply UDL to the design of the different interactions that they have which students as a part of that role. We hope to him in the future, to be able to include new awards that relate to that as well in the work going forward in the coming years.

Margaret Flood  01:05

That’s fantastic. And again, I keep going back to community, but even the development of that new badge is showing us that inclusion and equity. And using UDL to achieve this is not just for the teachers or the lectures, that it is for everybody who is in that environment, whether it be the UCD campus, whether it be the ahead offices or all of our virtual learning spaces that we have right now. And you also talked about then gathering all of this information and being able to reflect and in the ahead journal, is the ahead journal, a compilation of the submissions for the award, or is that something separate?

Dara Ryder  01:47

Yeah, no, the head journal is actually a best practice journal on inclusive education employment that’s released twice a year, by ahead. I think that submissions are actually being selected right now, if there is educators out there who’d like to share something. So typically, it’s people sharing projects, and new initiatives, maybe new research, and it’s a practice journal. So it’s quite, you know, informal and how people approach it. But we do welcome submissions from wide across the world. So all your listeners, if you have a project that you’d like to share that’s of interest to either the the Irish audience, or indeed the international audience, then we definitely welcome people getting in touch. But I suppose where Daniel was referring to is that we’re intending maybe, with the hedge journals have a very specific issue that that celebrates, you know, I spent a special edition issue that celebrates some of the great practices that are coming out of the John Kerry award and are emerging as we as we catch her and all that good stuff.

Margaret Flood  02:42

Okay. And so bringing us back to the award, then the big question is, how do we apply? What do we need to do to put ourselves forward for this, the two awards, there’s there, it’s not just the one award, there’s two different categories right now.

Daniel Elliott  02:58

So there is two ways of doing it Mags there, you can fill out the we’ve got an application form that we’re almost nearly there ready to go. And that is going to be for the individual awards, it is looking at, you know, applicants need to describe the particular learning environment and the context of where they’re working. And that gives us a benchmark of, you know, what, what was it like before they started to implement UDL, and then they begin to, to outline that in the step by set sort of basis, but really drilling into there as what are people’s processes. And, you know, their their evidence, evidencing their, you know, self evaluation, their good practice, and then areas for improvement through age. And then there, that really interesting part of work. Looking forward to reading is the impact of the redesign on their learners. You know, when and how is that being reflected? And, you know, that can take many different forms, whether it’s just learner experiences, whether it’s testimonials, whether it’s actual, you know, we’re seeing a change in performance, and feedback and qualitative and quantitative ways. And then we’re also asking applicants to speak to how they’re contributing to that wider recognition of UDL. How many people are, you know, how many times are they standing up in the room and saying, and waving the flag about UDL again, or how many people are there convincing quietly to say, Have you thought about doing the badge or have you thought about changing this one little thing in your teaching? And then we’re looking at how they are looking to improve on the practice in the future. And then we’re also applicants can do that. via video submission as well, or 15 to 20 minute video to, and then the collaborative Ward is in some ways similar, we would have a lead applicant who is doing this on behalf of the centre or the organisation or putting this forward. And again, the right line is outlined in the context of what was it like before the UDL implementation, then they’re talking about how they’re systematically doing this. And then they drill into how are they getting stakeholders involved? So whether that’s through training, you know, highlights getting key leaders involved, are there dedicated committees and communities of practice being set up, and so on. And then, again, we’re looking at that impact on students. And what we’re looking for with the collaborative piece is really how they are getting students involved in that partnership element, you know, how are they getting their views, not just in one classroom, but right across their organisation or their centre. And then again, the future plans for deeper and UDL implementation, and an added part, to the collaborative waters that they they’ve got to get an endorsement from their senior management that says, you know, we are committed to this wholeheartedly. So applications are going to open on the 25th of April, and we’ve got a six week window to do that. So the closed the fifth of June, we are hoping to have an information event over zoom, where we can go through a questions with applicants on Tuesday, the Third of May or at least that week, but we may do another one based on on, you know, what, if there’s more demand for it, and add the review process, we’re got an international pattern panel to keep it all fair and aboveboard are going to be shortlisting applicants through June and July. With the idea being then that we’ll have a big grand final in October, and that will be live event and we will have our our shortlisted finalists, they will need to do a presentation at that with a live judging panel. The equity Oscars? Yes,

Margaret Flood  07:28

I love that the but non controversial or a non controversial? So I have two big questions. First of all, is this an Irish or an international awards?

Daniel Elliott  07:42

It’s it is focused only on Ireland at the moment? I think we’d be taking off more than we could chew by opening it up globally.

Margaret Flood  07:51

Absolutely. And then who can apply? So is it is focused initially at higher and further education? Or is it those non Catherine based people just, you know, let people know in advance who should be thinking about this.

Daniel Elliot  08:06

So at the moment, it is going to be for those people who have completed the digital badge, and it is for the further on higher education contexts at the moment. Again, I think recognising our limitations that we all do it everybody will, will have a hard time on on sifting through all the applications, but who knows mags, you know, and true UDL style, we’d like to open it up and branch it and increase it in the future.

Margaret Flood  08:38

And it can it’s go back to that one small step. And you’re building on that. And actually, I kinda like that it’s for UDL participants, because they can use the assessment as a support and a scaffold, because they know the assessment is about making that one small change. So actually, there’s, there’s a really nice synergy between what they’ve been doing, and building on that now for the award. So I really, really like that. I don’t want to be taking up too much more of your time. So as we do come towards the end of our conversation, two things. First, I’m wondering, are there any resources for further independent learning that you would like to share with us today? And of course, I will put the links to the awards and to the ahead journal submissions in the transcript, but there might be something else you’d like to draw attention to?

Dara Ryder  09:29

Sure. Like I’ll first it off, okay. Well, one I think your listeners will be interested in is the UDL for fat resourceful, which is on the head website, head dot e slash UDL for fat as FET. And what that is, is essentially first of all, a sort of Bookland guidance on on UDL. So an introduction to implementing UDL in further education and training settings, although it’s actually applicable in pretty much any educational setting in terms of the actual end information in there. There’s also a summary version of that document. So if you if you’re not committed to the book length, you can get in there and dive right into UDL very quickly. And that nearly half of that resource sort of has a range of different multimedia resources attached to it as well. So it’s got a lot of video case studies of UDL, in fact, for example, so it’s a really good place to go. If you’re kind of fairly new to the topic of UDL, and you want to just to dive in and find out more, that’s a great place to go. So if you go to even head that a slash UDL, you see all our resources there, but also UDL for federal, and it’s very specific hold underneath that, and didn’t want to point out if it’s okay is, is I mentioned it previously, Ark, which is, stands for accessibility resources are now held, and Adela head that is slash Eric. And basically, what that is, is a digital accessibility resource hub. And it contains a whole bunch of different types of resources, but kind of central to our these three, free self directed to our short courses. And there are role based short courses. So aimed at different roles, episodes, looking at digital accessibility from different contexts. So for example, the baseline when there is digital accessibility for educators. And it’s a real two hour introduction there that can get you going and get you understanding that the basics, there’s also lots in there. But the legal side of things, if you want to explore that the stem has different ways of doing that in the hope as well. So don’t have to wait maybe point out from the head perspective.

Daniel Elliott  11:19

Super Thanks, Dara. And from from mine mags, just to give a little plug, I think, to the university for all website, and we’ve got some really great resources there. We’ve got lots of case studies, and we have our toolkit for inclusive HCI is which which talks about those four pillars. And and it’s a great toolkit for institutions in terms of how they can do a checklist. Again, it’s all about capturing good practice and how they can improve. And then I another little plug I’d like to make is an event. And we’ve got our university for all Symposium on the 26th of May. And it is going to be showcasing the work of our faculty Partnership Programme. And we’ll have it be in person here in UCD. But we’ll also have a live stream too. And we’ll have our keynote speakers is Tom Tobin, who anybody knows UDL is kind of the key expert in that field.

Margaret Flood  12:24

Really brilliant, thank you. And then just thought, again, open to both of you do either of you have any final words that you would like to share with everyone, whether it be about the award UDL in general, or just equity and inclusion?

Dara Ryder  12:40

And what I think about UDL, I always think about the great quote from David Rose, that talks about learning being as unique to individuals as their fingerprints. That’s something that always really sticks with me. And so I think as educators, the onus is on us is really to recognise variability as the norm, you know, the dreaded word normal as it’s just such an awful word in our English language sometimes, but maybe reframing that to just think about diversity, to think about variability as the norm. And just to celebrate, that is a really important thing for us to do. So I suppose I leave people with that thought, and I asked you, I suppose as an organisation, come say, Hello, we’re always open for a coffee in the chat. So if people are interested in this topic, you can find myself even on Twitter at Dara writers dare or yd, er, and I’d love to to have a chat and hear your thoughts. Thanks, Tara.

Daniel Elliott  13:34

And for me Mags, I think it’ll be just an encouragement to all those people who are eligible to apply for the award. And as you say, even use it just as a as a self reflective exercise. I think doing the doing the application, I think is an achievement in itself. And I think is going to be beneficial for you. And we’re really looking forward to seeing some fantastic applications. And I would say as well, bear with us. We’ve, hopefully, we’ve got the application almost perfect. But of course, perfect doesn’t quite exist. So it’s going to be a learning experience for us as much as as, as all the applicants, and we’ll we’ll take all the feedback on board for next year and build a better.

Margaret Flood  14:20

Absolutely, it’s that continuum, Daniel live. And Daniel, what I might ask you to do is just give us the dates one more time for anybody listening.

Daniel Elliott  14:29

Yep. So applications all going well are going to open on the 25th of April. And they will close on the fifth of June. And then the final event is going to be the 13th of October and that is going to be one I think for for everybody to come along to whether they’ve applied or not. It’s going to be a great event. Anyway. Oh,

Margaret Flood  14:57

super. I’ll be there. So if it’s an Oscar advantage of black tie though?

Dara Ryder  15:03

Can I get one more plug? Because I teach you, you

Margaret Flood  15:05

know, this is all about sharing the resources dollars. So please,

Dara Ryder  15:10

I just thought of one more thing my colleague, Trevor Boland  would actually kill me if I didn’t mention this. So just for the further and higher education folks out there who are listening. And those who are interested in UDL will know that assistive technology forms part of the theory of framework and promoting and using it to give learners more agency and control in their learning. And to give them more options in their learning is a core part of that. But we’re actually having an event called gather at the end of May, which is a free summerskill on assistive technology for for educators in further and higher education. So if people wanted to come along for that, they can go on to the ahead, website ahead.ly/gather. And they can find out more about that event. And just give you the dates as I’m frantically typing. Check them out. It’s May 31, June 1 And June 2. So it’s a three day summer skill involved.

Margaret Flood  16:02

You’re right, Trevor would kill you if you forgot to mention that. On that note, I’ll say goodbye to everyone. Thank you everyone so much for joining myself, Dara and Daniel for talking about all things inclusion, and I hope that you will all join me again soon. Thanks again dar and Daniel for really interesting chat today.

Dara Ryder  16:23

Thanks. Sounds lovely Mags.

Daniel Elliott 16:25

Thanks so much.

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