Friday, September 15, 2017

Differentiated Instruction in a 1:1 Classroom

Image credit to Luisalvaz
When an educator differentiates instruction, she provides multiple modalities for students to learn the content, the processes they use to interact with it, and the final products they turn in. According to differentiation guru Carol Ann Tomlinson (2001), as teachers begin to differentiate instruction "they move away from seeing themselves as keepers and dispensers of knowledge and move toward seeing themselves as organizers of learning opportunities" (p. 16). Because of this, a differentiated classroom will likely include more student-centered, active learning opportunities.

When differentiated instruction is combined with a 1:1 Chromebook environment, 21st century skills can be practiced and applied.

On her blog post 10 Ways to Differentiate Instruction with Technology, teacher Heidi Raki writes, "Let students follow their passions through Be the Teacher projects, student-led inquiries, passion projects, Genius Hour or 20Time [projects] to get them more engaged in their learning." These projects are a way "to differentiate by bringing in each students' individual interests and level." Google's suite of online productivity tools makes integrating these types of projects easy.

For example, students can use Google Docs to organize their research. Within Docs, students can find more resources related to their topic using Doc's 'Explore' feature. Students can create a folder within Google Drive to house all of the artifacts and components generated for their project including videos, Slides presentations, research Docs and essays, and visuals made in Google Drawings. Collaboration and communication between students can be facilitated by the communication features in G Suite and a class Padlet.

When teachers differentiate instruction, they should group students based on their skills, interest, preparedness, and choice. Check out our Differentiating the Learning Experience with Technology article for inspiration on using a graphic organizer to increase student choice and leverage individual interests, skills, and readiness. The graphic organizer can easily be modified to allow groups of students with mixed-abilities to choose their methods they would like to use to demonstrate mastery of the content.

Be on the lookout for an article next week on how ongoing formative assessments are an important part of the differentiation decisions teachers make.

We also have an upcoming professional learning opportunity starting October 1. Learn more about Leveraging Online Tools and register for the eCourse here.

Chris Justus
Las Vegas


Sources

Raki, H. (2016). 10 ways to differentiate with instruction. Retrieved from http://blog.whooosreading.org/10-ways-to-differentiate-instruction-with-technology/

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Differentiating the Learning Experience with Technology

Google's suite of online productivity tools makes differentiating students' learning experiences fun and easy. For example, leveled groups of students can design class presentations by sharing a Slides presentation with one another and work on them collaboratively. 

Another way to differentiate in the classroom is to give students a choice in how they work on their assignments. Check out this Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu. When you open the link, click 'Make a Copy' to add it to your Drive.

With the Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu every student starts with the center square, which should include background information, content, and/or links every student would need to successfully complete the assignment. Using the center square as their jumping off point, students then create a tic-tac-toe line by completing the tasks in the green and blue sections. Each blue and green square should offer students differentiated tasks they can choose based on their level and abilities.

The Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Menu can make learning relevant and can ensure teachers are reaching all students, regardless of their level.

Inspiration: Shake Up Learning

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Upcoming Professional Learning Opportunity

One of our first professional learning opportunities we are offering for the 2017-18 school year is our brand new Leveraging Online Tools eCourse. Check out the course details, the link to the syllabus, and the registration form by following this link.

The course is unique in that you will have more control over your learning. We have worked a badging system into the course and you can choose which EdTech badges you would like to earn and which tools you would like to integrate into your curriculum.

Successful completion of the 15 hour course will earn you 1 continuing education unit issued from the Nevada Department of Education. This credit can be used to renew teaching licenses.

This optional course starts October 1, 2017. Please register by September 24 here: https://sites.google.com/nv.ccsd.net/lotools/home

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Friday, August 25, 2017

What's New in Google Classroom?

Google Classroom has become a popular service teachers can use to get digital artifacts, assignments, discussion prompts, links, lessons, and videos out to students. Google adds new features to their products all the time and Classroom has a couple new bells and whistles you can try out for the 2017-18 school year.

One of Classroom's newest features is the ability to see all of a student's submitted work. To try this out in Classroom, first navigate to "Students" then click on an individual student's name. All the assignments they turned in throughout the year can be accessed from this single view. You can even filter the assignments down to assignments turned in, returned with grade, or missing.

Organized teachers rejoice! Classroom now lets you organize your different classes in any order on the Classroom homepage. Imagine you have 5 sections of an ELA class. Before you would have to create those classes in the exact order (Period 1, Period 2, etc) to make them appear in the correct order. Now with your mouse you can "grab" each class and reorder any way you want!

Other new features include the ability to give decimal grades, display the class code to join in full screen, transfer class ownership from one teacher to another, and use the app launcher directly from Classroom.

Curious how Classroom has changed throughout the years? Check out all of the changes to Classroom since 2014 here.

Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Use Keep as Your Student Planner

If I was a student, I would be using Google Keep to help me keep track of my different assignments. Keep allows students to easily write notes to themselves, collaborate on other students' notes, and add pictures of assignments written on white boards. Students can even set reminders for their notes so when they get home from school, they will be reminded to work on their group project.

Take a look at the video below and share with your students!


Chris Justus
Las Vegas

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The "Inbox Zero" Mentality!

Using Gmail? Have hundreds or even thousands of old emails clogging your inbox?! Watch the video below to learn about the Inbox Zero Mentality and change the way you do your work email!


Chris Justus
Las Vegas


Monday, June 19, 2017

HyperDocs Across Nevada

The HyperDoc movement began with Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis. With their collaborative and innovative nature, HyperDocs has taken off like wildfire.

This year teachers across the state of Nevada have been joining in the HyperDoc movement by participating in the HyperDocs course and creating and sharing their own HyperDocs.

While participating in the course, teachers learn how to transform their teaching while empowering their students as learners by engaging in the use of the 4 C's, SAMR, and DOK. HyperDocs provide a digital delivery tool that replaces the worksheet method of delivery of instruction. HyperDocs are much more than just some links on a document. They improve collaboration and instruction between the teacher and the students and allow students to be creative and critical thinkers. In the course, teachers were able to engage in conversations and share strategies with other teachers for creating a blended classroom, including designing lessons that are engaging, interactive, multi-layered learning experiences for students, and packaging web tools and improving workflow.

You can click on the link to this Padlet to see the HyperDocs that are being shared across Nevada. Please continue to post and share HyperDocs that you create by adding them to this Padlet.

NR21 HyperDoc Gallery Wall