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.