“UDL is the What, Design Thinking is the How:” Designing for Differentiation in Mathematics



Differentiation, Disability, Universal Design for Learning, Mathematics, Design Thinking


In order to transform mathematics classrooms for students with disabilities, teachers must design based on learners at the margins. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework built on these principles (Meyer et al., 2014), but lacks a robust process through which educators can reimagine mathematics. We theorize that when educators merge the principles of Universal Design for Learning in mathematics with the process of Design Thinking, more accessible designs for curriculum, routines, tools, and spaces would result. Using design research methodology, we analysed a 6-week summer course for mathematics educators on UDL and Design Thinking. Data sources included class video recordings and transcripts, class artefacts, as well as pre- and post-participant surveys. Findings indicate shifts in participants’ knowledge of UDL from a passive to an active role, empathy as a central guiding principle, and the potential of using Design Thinking as a process to enact UDL.

“UDL is the What, Design Thinking is the How:” Designing for Differentiation in Mathematics


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