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Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning
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Author(s): Frances G. Smith (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA) and Pamela LeConte (George Washington University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 3
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch324


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Buckminster Fuller, a multi-talented innovator of the 20th century, contributed to society as a scientist, engineer, and inventor (left hemisphere/brain dominance), and as a philosopher, psychologist, and essayist (right hemisphere/brain dominance). The multi-faceted dimension that defined Fuller (and other such inventors and leaders) contributed greatly to his successes. Yet, in traditional academic environments, indeed in current ones (which are defined by rigorous standards, highstakes assessments, and accountability for all), these preeminent leaders of innovation would not have been recognized for their talents or contributions—during their school years. Einstein, who was labeled a failure by his grade school math teachers, proceeded to change how we view and operate in our world—despite his limitations. The educational system did not know how to accommodate his way of learning; yet, he excelled in spite of the failures of public education. In today’s educational climate, many potential Fullers and Einsteins may be experiencing the same failures of our system. This is often true of students who learn differently from how they are taught, including students with disabilities (Smith, 2001).

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