Friday, January 5, 2018

Differentiating with technology, part II: Process

In December we blogged about the possibilities that technology offers to the practice of differentiation.  Differentiation is typically broken down into 3 realms: content, process, and product.  Content was covered in this post from December 14th.  The information shared here will develop the ideas regarding using technology to allow for opportunities for differentiating the process.

When we think about the instructional process, we are really focusing in on student readiness level, learning preferences, and aptitudes along with the activities used to engage the students and allow for mastery of the content.   

Technology allows for teachers to support different student readiness quite easily.  Resources can be provided privately and seamlessly to students via a learning management system or even via email that adjusts the path of learning for student readiness.  

Differentiating Video Learning
Many videos have transcripts available.  Providing the transcript to a video in addition to the video itself can be a quick and easy adjustment that makes a significant difference to the student learning process.  Perhaps students will find value in annotating the transcript as the video plays or perhaps students recognize words when written rather than when verbalized.      


If videos are viewed within a YouTube viewer, the student can adjust whether or not captions are shown on the video and the speed at which the video is viewed, slowing it down or speeding it up as needed.

In Discovery Ed, students should be made aware of the Closed Caption button:

And the videos available in StreamingPlus come with a transcript as well:

Supporting quality collaboration
Using technology to allow students to work collaboratively allows for differentiation of the process of learning as well.  Of course technology is not a prerequisite to collaborative work but it does enhance collaboration in a few ways:
  • Teachers can see revision history in a collaborative Google document to track contributions of various team members
  • Apps like ClassKick and allow for ‘peer helpers’ in a way that allows teachers to track and monitor in real time the types of support students provide each other.  Peer helpers can only help each other anonymously, however, the teacher is aware of the identities of students helping students.
  • Students can quickly answer an exit slip using Google forms to reflect on the progress of group work to make sure that team adjustments are made as needed during the collaboration.

Exposing students to the variety of options in learning empowers them to learn in a way that best suits their unique learning style provides students. This gives kids the opportunity to advocate for their success and take ownership of the learning process.  These skills transcend the classroom and help form strong, independent learners.

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