Differentiating with Web 2.0 Technologies

In an earlier post, I showed how to use Discovery Education resources to differentiate. Here are some more ideas on differentiating teaching and learning.

Project Based Learning is also another great way to differentiate teaching and learning. Project Based Learning (PBL) is a great way to teach students content, 21st century skills, and engage them in something fun and educational. I spoke more about PBL in an earlier article on Tech&Learning (http://www.techlearning.com/blogs/17052) and we had some great reader comments (Tech&Learning, May 2009, page 14). First of all, PBL can be used in any classroom, in any subject, at any grade level. Projects can be one class period, or take weeks to complete. Projects can address one curriculum item, or many. It all depends on how you want to implement it and how comfortable it is for you. PBL does take planning. You need to look at your curriculum and the objectives you want to accomplish and then plan a project that will lead your students to reach these objectives. Project Based Learning addresses multiple learning styles, teaches teamwork and critical thinking skills as well as content knowledge, and is a great measure of student mastery. More information on Project Based Learning – http://goo.gl/M1ns

The World Wide Web is full of other resources for educators to use to differentiate learning. Just do a search for “differentiation” or search for resources based on your own ideas for differentiating. Most teachers already differentiate, but technology can offer you many more options and many more resources for you and your students. Utilize your PLN to find more resources and come up with more ideas on differentiation. And please share your resources and ideas here.

PowerPoint, while sometimes vilified can be used to address multiple types of learning. In the presentation, you can have pictures, text, videos, and sound. You can print out slides for students to follow along with the lecture and you can post it online or print it out for absent students. This is a great resource for using PowerPoint in the Classroom –http://www.actden.com/pp/

Class web sites and blogs are also a great way to support student learning through differentiation. A class site or blog can have resources and help links, reminders for upcoming due dates, discussion forums and more. Students can also create a web site or blog as a assignment instead of a typical quiz, test, or paper. Creating a class web site or blog is very easy. Here’s a good place to start if you want to create a web site or blog: http://goo.gl/m0bO

Virtual Field Trips are another good way to have students experience and learn in a way beyond the typical lecture. These can be used by the teacher with the whole class or by individual students. Here’s some tips on where to find some great virtual field trips. http://goo.gl/3mVF

Many students are not the best at taking notes, or being organized. Google Calendar, Google Tasks (through Gmail) can both be used to keep students organized. There are also a lot of other great student resources online for students to use for studying and for staying organized(http://www.techlearning.com/blogs/33782). By sharing these with your students, you offer them different ways of staying organized and being successful.

Evernote is free note-taking, web clipping, and organizing online tool. Students can use it to take notes, clip information from the web, upload files and connect to notes, and can even share notes with others (and the teacher can share notes with their students). Students can access their notes from any computer or smartphone. http://www.evernote.com

Differentiation Resources

Differentiation for High Ability Learners –http://livebinders.com/play/present?id=19538

Great resource with ideas and lessons for differentiating for high ability learners in a general classroom.

Differentiation Central – http://www.differentiationcentral.com/

Another great resource with lesson plans, tools, and strategies for differentiating in the classroom.

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_instruction

This article from Wikipedia on Differentiated Instruction is a good place to get an overview of the topic as well as find some good links and resources.

Teaching Every Student – http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ – Understanding by Design site – this is another way to differentiate and make sure you are addressing all students


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