Our students need to interact with materials and curriculum in different ways (Principle 2 of UDL). If they do not have this option, it creates a "barrier" towards learning. UDL classrooms look to provide students with "access" towards the curriculum in different ways. It helps our students understand the "How" of learning.
For example, the other day I had my students read an article. I provided students with an electronic copy, which contained hyperlinks to other news sources. This gave students an opportunity to access supplemental materials to watch video clips or listen a podcast of the subject area.
We discussed key vocabulary words that would appear in the text. Students created "Bumper Stickers" (for our visual learners) to define the term. They had to draw a picture to represent the concept, create a slogan (to define the term), and actually write out the term on the "Bumper Sticker." Students were asked to verbally share their responses to the class (for our auditory learners), so that we could better understand the vocabulary term. This worked much better than having the students copy the definition from a book.
After reading the article, I had my students discuss the article by "speed dating." Students were divided into pairs. One person was in charge of listening, while the other student was in charge of talking. After about a minute of discussion, the listener "paraphrased" what they heard to their partner (for our auditory and hands-on learners). After this occurred, we had each group take turns sharing what they had talked about to the entire group. Students threw around a "magic discussion ball," which was their ticket to talk!
After discussing the article, my students had to respond to the "Big Idea" of the article. I gave them some options for expressing their ideas. Students could write out their ideas in a Microsoft Word document or they could use a program called Audacity to create a verbal response in the form of a Podcast. Both options checked for understanding. All activities were designed from the beginning to take learner differences into consideration. An IEP didn't influence my teaching. UDL influenced my teaching.