Differentiated Instruction, it works for teachers too!

On Friday I had the opportunity to introduce a new teacher to each of the Discovery products to which our school subscribes. This science and math teacher had never seen any of the DE products and was quickly engaged and excited about the impact they would have in his classroom.  When we started on the Science Techbook, he was rapidly navigating through the site and asking questions about the endless possibilities available for his students.  “This will be a dynamic classroom, I can’t wait to begin. I’ve never been given the tools to teach this way before!”

This young teacher is a digital native.  He grew up in an era where digital content is omnipresent and interwoven as an integral part of his life, where collaboration and social media are common and accepted in day-to-day life, and where you can access information and tools anytime, anywhere, from any device.  This teacher comes from the same world as the students we teach.

How does this compare with the seasoned teacher who is not a digital native and who has been teaching from a paper textbook in a teacher-centered classroom? How do we engage that seasoned teacher to also accept and take ownership of the digital tools available to her and her students?

The approach has to be different.  As a trainer, you have to be patient and understand the reluctance some of the more seasoned teachers may experience as they are asked to change their ways and move from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered one.  This is when you need to identify their needs and differentiate your delivery.  You have to help them understand the world our students live in, where they are constantly connected and continuously exposed to a torrent of digital media.  Why should they disconnect when they walk into school?  Why must their learning modalities adjust to an older model of learning? Instead this is an opportunity to engage them in learning in a way they know how.

Our job is to prepare our students for a world that is changing rapidly and for jobs that have not yet been created. Careers of the future will be based on what is needed in society and we have to do everything in our power to prepare them for that world.

As my school begins the journey into a new horizon of Discovery Education digital Techbooks, I am excited about the possibilities it will bring. The world will be at the student’s fingertips!

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