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Teaching With Technology Toolbox: Differentiating by Product- by Clara George

 

Content ~

The content aspect of the lesson focuses on what students need to learn and how

 they are able to gain access to the information ( Tomlinson, 2000).

  1. Method- MentorMob(mentormob.com). MentorMob is an website that collects media files, videos and pictures from all aspects of the internet and groups them based on categories into what MentorMob refers to as “Learning Playlist.” Teachers and students are free to create Learning Playlists to share over the internet while collaborating with others.
  • Citations and Resources:
  • Differentiate by Content- MentorMob playlists can be created by teachers as an enhancement to textbook content using media-rich and diverse resources. This alternative promotes differentiation of content by catering to students’ unique interests, learning profiles and readiness levels ( Tomlinson, 2014). By creating playlists that are specific to students needs helps to address barriers by allowing students to make connections with the lesson content in ways the probably would not have, if traditional means were used. Teachers could also consider adding tutorials and extra study playlists relating to the content in order to provide support for students who may struggle with understanding the content and enhancement for those who need to be challenged beyond the average delivery of content. An additional feature to this program, is it’s the capability to upload additional handouts to individual playlists.
  • Unit of study – MentorMob can be used to teach almost any unit of study. Since MentorMop allows the compilation of various media ( pictures, files, videos) from the internet into groups based on topic, I would use it for the Science Unit of weather to provide my young students with various means to discover more about the weather. I would also allow students to collaborate on the topic through the program, to share their observations with the weather at various points throughout the day. Gifted or more advance learners could be assign more challenging content to explore while my struggling learners could be give various supplemental materials to reinforce the lesson content.
  1. Method- ThinglinkIs an interactive online tool that allows users to transform any image into a multimedia launcher. Users can embed links using various “Hot spots” on the image which provides them with access to additional data or other resources on the net (thinglink.com).
  • Differentiate by Content- The Thinglink program which consist of interactive pages , enables teachers to specifically target student readiness levels by presenting the content in diverse ways that caters to each skill group. In fact, the content can be organized through this program for heterogeneous groups through the incorporation of  multiple learning profiles.  Teachers therefore, can utilize Thinglink to tier by Degree of Structure and Level of Support ( Heacox, 2009). Moreover, students can also take ownership of their learning by choosing to add materials that best meets their learning styles, preferences, and needs.
  • Unit of study – A creative writing unit I would use Thinglink to explore entirely. In fact, I would utilize it at each stage in the writing process to help my students connect with the lesson content. For example, I would allow my students to design and share their own interactive digital poster with includes major themes for their research paper. Providing my students with the opportunity to create their own poster, gives them the opportunity to make connections based on their own preferences. Moreover, I could provide students with an image prompt and allow them to add hotspots to help engage them in a lesson discussion on the topic. This would also provide me with the opportunity to add audio and video links with images to help clarify concepts for my ELL students.
  1. Method- Webquest is a classroom based, inquiry-oriented lesson format that provides students with information to work with from the internet. It focuses on higher-order thinking and not necessarily on just acquiring data. Teachers preselect the sources for this tool and guide instruction accordingly (http://webquest.org/ )
  • Differentiate by Content- According to (Adobe) when “ considering content, the use of a Web Quest can be very helpful” ( pg. Stanford, Crowe,& Flice, 2010, p.5).  WebQuest can be used to differentiate by instruction through tailoring content to student interests and readiness levels. Not only does it help to engage learners based on their strengths and interest, but Web Quest also allows students to engage in the lesson content based on their readiness levels.  Moreover WebQuest can be used to differentiate instruction by allowing pupils to work on the same topic but with varied WebQuests (tasks). This will encourage higher-order thinking and would provide students with real-life experiences that challenges them to think more critically about the lesson content.
  • Unit of study – WebQuest could be used during a research and study unit. Students can work collaboratively or individually on a topic based on their readiness levels, thus providing differentiation of process at different levels of critical thinking. Gifted and talented students can complete enrichment activities to enhance higher order thinking by analyzing a particular topic. Whereas, as the teacher I could engage my struggling pupils in WebQuests appropriate to their needs and allow my ESL students to use WebQuest to enhance their literacy skills while ensure that they achieve the class expectations.
  1. Method- Wolfgram AlphaWolfgram Alpha -Is a computational knowledge engine that gives users access to facts and data, as well as calculates answers across a wide range of units and topics including mathematics and science (https://www.wolframalpha.com/).
  • Differentiate by Content- Wolfgram Alpha is a type of reference tool that is an excellent tool to use when presenting Math concepts to students. Through this program, teachers can display content in an alternative way, thus providing students with new perspectives of solving a problem or interpreting a concept. Moreover, the way the program is designed also allows for students to reflect on their understanding of content and concepts. Thus, it provides a means of differentiating content by student preference, and readiness needs.  As this tool is capable of generating answers to questions in real time , it can provide students with immediate feedback from which they can make comparisons with their internal understanding or knowledge base.
  • Unit of study – To teach Mathematical units in general. For my students who struggle with solving mathematical problems, the program provides expert explanations on how to solve math problems by demonstrating step by step processes to help solve such problems. Then for my students who are advance learners when it comes to mathematics or logical reasoning, they too would have the opportunity to challenge themselves to go beyond the grade level calculations/computations. As such, Wolfgram Alpha helps to differentiate instruction based on students readiness levels, and by preference. As a teacher, I am also able to create visual aids for presentations or handouts to distribute to my visual learners who make greater connections when they are able to visualize mathematical steps.
  1. Method- Tripitico is an online software that enables educators to create, share, and edit interactive lessons. Moreover, it allows users to create and use various types of tools such as quiz makers and activities to help increase student engagement during instruction (https://www.tripticoplus.com/)
  • Differentiate by Content- Triptico is a wonderful technology tool that can be used to differentiate content. Through this tool, educators can create, share, and modify learning content using the interactive resources it provides. Thus, it helps diversify the way in which pupils are able to interact with the lesson content, review, and practice various skills. Due to the fact that it consists of a multitude of apps, it broadens the scope of apps students might be interested to interact with therefore ensuring that a larger group of students could remain engaged with the lesson content. According to Harrison & Gilmartin (2013) using Triptico, teachers can “create challenging, fun, and interactive activities that help students to learn and develop a more intrinsic sense of the material( para. 5)
  • Unit of study – The unit of study I would love to explore the Triptico tool with is generally in the area of Mental Mathematics. Through Triptico, I can provide my students with a series of programs or apps that would enable to interact with the material in various ways based on their learning preferences, styles, and readiness levels.  For example, my students who are musically inclined could listen to songs that help to concrete mental math concepts. Others who are kinesthetically inclined, can play mental math games to interact with the lesson content. While others who might work best cooperatively, could also be given the opportunity to work together with a partner using various programs organized in this Triptico software.

 

PROCESS ~

The Process section of the lesson focuses on the activities students will engage

 with in order to make connections with the lesson content.

It deals with how students will learn (Tomlinson, 2014).

 

  1. Method- Primary Pad – is a web-based word processor that allows its users to collaborate during real-time on various projects. The main theme of the product is to promote investigative projects and support collaborative work in the classroom (https://primarypad.com/).
  • Differentiate by Content- Primary Pad is an excellent to for differentiating instruction by process. Utilizing this tool, I am able to gather ideas based on my students’ individual interests, backgrounds, and understanding of lessons.  Through Primary Pad I can create a collaborative classroom environment where every child can get an equal opportunity to express his or her ideas without the fear of speaking in front of the class or being embarrassed for an answer that was suggested.  Together as a class, we can work together on gathering ideas and also provides me the teacher with a general idea of what my students know or may need to be taught.  Moreover, for students who are visual learners, having their ideas beamed unto the board can also help to add clarity to the lesson content and reduce the possibility of likely barriers.
  • Unit of study – An excellent unit of study I would utilize Primary Pad to guide the lesson process would be for an Informative Writing unit. I would use this tool to allow my entire class to contribute new findings, discoveries, ideas, and views that based on their understanding would be beneficial information for an informative writing piece to the Minister of Education. This tool also allowed for the data to be stored so that students who may be in need of additional ideas throughout the writing process could have a means of obtaining the data. It allowed for pupils who may at times struggle with organizing their ideas to get the support from the class as well as to see an example of how they can work through such processes. This lesson approach also helps to cater to those students who often gather substantial amount of data but then have challenges organizing their ideas when it is time to work on the writing aspect of the lesson. Not only would it also give my reluctant writers a purpose for writing but it would also provide me the teacher with an opportunity to guide the flow of their thinking before they begin to write their informative piece. Through this one unit, utilizing the Primary Pad tool, the lesson can be differentiated by process to cater to a wide range of pupil’s needs.
  1. Method- Live Binders-Is the modern day e-portfolio that stores student data in online binders in an organized way. These binders can be shared with other parties including parents (livebinders.com/)
  • Differentiate by Content- Gone are the days of large paper portfolios that were extremely cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Live Binders provides the modern day way for educators and pupils alike to organize data in a more effective and efficient way. Live binders can be used to differentiate instruction by process by providing students with virtual folders that contain resources , tasks, or information specific to their learning needs. Through Live Binders, teachers can design a compilation of tabs that are tiered by lessons, flexible grouping,  student learning interests, styles or even readiness levels. Moreover, teachers can provide tutorials in each of the binders to provide students with the one on one instruction they may not otherwise receive at the exact time they may need it. Through the use of Live Binders, the process aspect of the lesson becomes extremely manageable as all students can easily access the lessons assigned to them in their organized binders.
  • Unit of study – Live Binders as a result, can use used for example in general science units that require in-depth research and study. The teacher can assign science tasks based on students readiness levels and include the specific skills needed to be mastered by each student. Moreover, to tailor the content to each student needs, even the questions included in the various folders would be selected based on the teachers knowledge of the student’s needs. Providing students with easy access to their specific content helps to save instructional time and ensures that every child despite their differences are being catered to.
  1. Method- Kidblog is a Safe online blogging tool that creates an environment where pupils can express themselves through blogs. Teachers have the control of moderating the processes (org/)
  • Differentiate by Content- Utalizing the blogging method through the Kidblog technology tool is a feasible way to differentiate by process. It enables teachers to tier by the “Degree of Structure” and by students’ “Learning Preference” (Heacox, 2009). According to Farrow, R. (2016) students varied learning preferences or styles, they can choose to blog using auditory formats, images, texts, or even video. Moreover, they can be given the opportunity to showcase their understanding of concepts using open-ended guidelines or by more specific closed-directed instructions. Furthermore, Kidblog provides pupils and teachers with the opportunity to explore thoroughly during the process stage of the lesson despite their varied readiness levels. For example, students who are more advance could be free to  explore more complex assignments beyond what is expected of them. Whereas, students who may experience difficulty could be provided with the additional assistance needed by their facilitator in a none-discriminatory way through the Kidblog tool.
  • Unit of study – Blogging and Kidblog in particular can also be used in various units. For example during the process of a Mathematics unit on fractions students can create a blog embedding videos, podcast, and support links the discovered through their personal research, of which they could easily refer back to or share with other pupils.  Students could also reflect on the lesson by posting comments  or through their journals asking for clarification on concepts they maybe have misunderstood. This helps to ensure that all students despite their readiness level, would be given the opportunity grasp the lesson’s concepts through varied mediums. Moreover, students can demonstrate their understanding of fractions using their blog as a demonstration wall from which teachers could in return offer feedback and support.
  1. Method- Popplet is an online mind-mapping and brainstorming platform that allows users to organize files, ideas, and data by connecting events, notes, etc. in free-from maps (com/)
  • Differentiate by Content- According to (http://www.graphic.org/goindex.html) mind-mapping can also be used to help differentiate instruction with technology. The technology tool, Popplet, is one such tool that could assist teachers in differentiating instruction by process. Through Popplet, students with the guidance of teachers can create and utilize graphic organizers in order to get a better understand the lesson concepts. According to Stanford, Crowe, and Flice, (2010). “Graphic organizers offer the opportunity to differentiate for visual learners as the content and concepts are being taught “(p. 6).  Teachers as a result, could guide their students to think through the concepts and to organize their ideas in order to gain a better knowledge. This tool therefore could help to differentiate based on students learning preferences and styles as well as readiness levels. Students who may need to a visual representation would be better able to benefit from a lesson that incorporates the use of mind maps (Tiering by Degree of Abstraction” Heacox, 2009).
  • Unit of study – The Method of Mind mapping could be used for example during a Caring for Our Environment Unit. Students could work collaboratively to discuss and brainstorm possible causes of damage to their environment and possible solutions to help curve the current problems using Mindmaps. This helps to cater to students who would benefit from mapping out their ideas on papers or presentations in order to gain clarity of organization of ideas. From this, students can use their Mindmap as the tool to guide them through the other phases of their project. Thus, Mindmaps can be used to differentiate instruction by process based on students interests, learning preferences as well as readiness levels.
  1. Method- NearPod is a platform that allows users, such as teachers to use their tablets to manage content on pupils’ mobile devices. It allows for interactive lessons by allowing users to combine presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.(The Nearpod Team).
  • Differentiate by Content- NearPod is an excellent tool to differentiate instruction by process. Teachers can utilize the tool to provide students with access to a lesson presentation on their individual screens. Teacher could create virtual centers where by students could be assigned to specific tasks based on their readiness levels, interest, or learning preferences. Each group would then receive a specific access code enabling only a specific set of students to access various lesson resources and activities. These tasks should then match the needs of students thus allowing them to make better sense of the lesson concepts and develop their understanding in an virtual environment that is unique to their learning needs. Moreover, through NearPod, lessons can be further differentiated and enhanced as students in turn could share their presentations and collaborate with others to deepen their understanding of the content (McCarty, n.d)
  • Unit of study – A unit of study for example that NearPod could be used in, is a Grammar unit where by, as a teacher I could virtually assign my students to various groups based on their readiness levels, interests, and learning preferences to ensure that they are receiving the learning experience that suits them best. I in turn, could offer the one-on-one lessons to small groups while my other students continue to use the resources provided in their virtual groups to develop their understanding of the lesson concepts. This helps me to ensure that all my students remain actively engaged in the lesson and do not get frustrated due to the level of tasks assigned to them.

 

PRODUCT ~

The product stage in the lesson, focuses on how students will demonstrate

 or showcase their understanding of the

lesson or what they have learned (Tomlinson, 2014).

 

  1. Method- Rubistar Rubistar – is a tool used by many educators to create rubrics for various subjects and classroom projects. Rubistar is a free application used by many educators who lack the skill, time, or willingness to create rubrics from scratch (4teachers.org/)
  • Differentiate by Content- Rubrics and technology tools to design rubrics such as “Rubistar,” offer teachers tools to differentiate instruction based on the unique needs and objectives of each student in the learning environment. They in turn, can be used by teachers to differentiate the product expectations for students based on their varied readiness levels. According to Smith andThrone(2007). “a rubric is any established set of statements (criteria) that clearly, precisely, accurately, and thoroughly describes the varying or developmental levels that may exist in a student’s work”(p.7). As a result, rubrics could be used to help direct students to their optimal potential  by providing them with clear guidelines and valuable information of the lessons expectations from the beginning of a lesson.
  • Unit of study – One unit of study that Rubistar can be used in is the unit of Genius Hour. Genius Hour is an approach whereby students create a project based on an essential question they would personally like to have answered based in their individual interests. Rubistar can be used to differentiate by product in this context by providing students with clear guidelines of the lesson expectations however, leaving room for students to explore based on their interests and learning preferences.
  1. Method- VoiceThread is web-based application that enables users to create and share conversations or audio recording around documents, diagrams, and videos. It also allows for text commenting (https://voicethread.com/).
  • Differentiate by Content- The tool, VoiceThread can be used in multiple ways to differentiate by product. Namely by students learning styles; students who are auditory learners for example, could benefit from recording responses to demonstrate their understanding of concepts. Moreover, VoiceThread could help to tier by interests since some students could make better connections to lesson content and in turn may be best able to express themselves through audio forums such as VoiceThread.
  • Unit of study – VoiceThread could be used during a Reading Comprehension Unit. Rather than solely requesting that students complete written assessments to demonstrate their understanding of a given passage, the use of VoiceThreads where students can record their responses can be used. This could help to differentiate by product by tiering the lesson based on students readiness levels and learning styles. At times, pupils expression of their knowledge and understanding may be hindered by their writing skills, especially in the case where writing is not the skill being assessed. Providing students with the opportunity to record themselves could be extremely useful in cases like these.
  1. Method- Powtoon is a tool that allows teachers and students to create beautiful animated videos in minutes. This tool provides users with various ways to express their ideas in a creative forum through video presentations, mindmaps, or even timelines (https://www.powtoon.com/).
  • Differentiate by Content- The Powtoon tool can allow differentiation by product by allowing the students to make connections from the content through different perspectives. Powtoon tool also engages students and helps break down barriers for students who struggle to express themselves freely. Further, teachers can use Powtoon to tier by challenge/complexity by providing students with varied tasks that meet their level of complexity. According to Heacox (2009) “ tiered by level of challenge and complexity provides basic applications of content, skills, or process for some students as well as complex applications to those who need greater challenges in learning” (p. 90). Through Powtoons, teachers can vary the task to include more or less challenging/complex tasks that all lead to the same end result. Moreover, the product allows for further differentiation by product in that it provides student with the option to start from scratch or to use a template. This again helps to break down barriers such as a lack of creativity that may hinder a pupil from successfully completing the
  • Unit of study Powtoon could be using during a unit on Persuasive writing, whereby students would create a Powtoon cartoon persuading their viewers to accept a particular viewpoint and then use that content as the basis for their persuasive paper. This activity would be especially useful to pupils to struggle with putting their ideas down on paper but may not necessarily lack creativity or an understanding of the persuasive context.  Through Powtoon a series of learning styles, preferences , and interest may be catered to in various units of study.
  1. Method- Prezi– is a cloud-based, presentation software platform that enables users to design engaging, motion, zoon, and attractive presentations. It is also known for its visual storytelling feature which is an alternative to the standard slide-based presentation formats (Prezi, n.d.)
  • Popular – Prezi .(n.d.). Retrieved from prezi.com (n.d.).
  • Differentiate by Content- The method of using presentation tools such as Prezi, allows educators to differentiate by product as it allows students to design their own display of understanding in a way that fits their learning preference and style (McCarty, n.d). Moreover, Prezi allows for the production of lessons to be tiered based on students interest and preferences ( Heacox, 2009). Students who are visually and kinesthetically inclined would develop a deeper engagement with the lesson content and thus it provides an avenue for them to demonstrate their understanding. Moreover, students who struggles with writing or speaking can be empowered to share their knowledge through a medium that uses other key skills they may compose.
  • Unit of study – There are several units of study that the presentation tool, Prezi can be incorporated in to differentiate instruction by product. When focusing on the Historical unit of St. Maarten. Students can embed videos, images, texts, and audios containing images or footage of historical events and design them according through a timeline using the features of Prezi. This will help to tier the lesson by student readiness and interests as it provides the opportunity for students to share only what they have acquired as well as, aspects of the lesson that interests them most. Moreover, according to Tomlinson (2014), this type of approach would also represent varied learning profiles.
  1. Method- Google Hangouts Google Hangouts is a web-based conferencing instrument created by Google for improving communication through video. A total of 10 students can connect at the same time through this application and is often used by educators together with other Google Apps for Education (https://hangouts.google.com/).
  • Citations and Resources:
  • Popular Source- Google hangouts (n.d.). Retrieved on November 25, 2016 fromhttps://hangouts.google.com/.
  • Popular Source- Hertz, Mary Beth. (2013). How educators and schools can make the most of google hangouts.Edutopia. Retrieved on November 25, 2016 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/educators-schools-google-hangouts-mary-beth-hertz
  • Differentiate by Content- Google Hangouts can also be used to differentiate instruction by product. Noting that it is a video conferencing tool that enables users to record presentations, my students can use a variety of media formats to demonstrate their learning. Moreover, this method can be used to differentiate based on student interest as it contains features that allows me as a teacher to ask for my student’s input on various topics. Moreover, for students who may need additional time to work on assignments, Google Hangouts can allow me to differentiate by product by providing my students with the opportunity to work on projects outside of the classroom and to share as well as to connect with other learners ( interpersonal learners).
  • Unit of study – Fortunately, Google Hangouts can be used in a variety of units within my classroom environment. For example, one unit of study I would incorporate Google Hangouts in is in the Science unit, “Endangered Species”. My students can use Google Hangouts to formulate online portfolios through which they could create a channel consisting of videos, work, and presentations of their choice that would be used demonstrate their understanding of the topic. Providing students with the option of their channel format is a great way to differentiate by product. Students in turn, could also share their channel with other students who too might be able to gain from their perspective on the topic. Furthermore, according to Hertz, Mary Beth. (2013). this process would also be beneficial to students who would like to access the content at a later date. My students can also be encouraged to blog their reflections about their understanding and perspectives on the topic, which I in turn can use to gather data about their understanding and provide support when and where needed (Google hangouts, n.d.).

References

Harrison,K & Gilmartin, M. (2013). Triptico: A powerful and free instructional app. Retrieved from https://etcjournal.com/2013/02/28/triptico-a powerful-and-free-instructional-app/

Heacox, D. (2009). Making differentiation a habit: How to ensure success in academically diverse classrooms. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Hertz, Mary Beth. (2013). How educators and schools can make the most of google hangouts. Edutopia. Retrieved on November 25, 2016 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/educators-schools-google-hangouts-mary-beth-hertz

McCarty, J. (n.d). Differentiation with social media tools. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ihsTwYr1kFx9Jb08Z2w5i1MWoxYkRXZbTP4Gcbodp6I/edit?pref=2&pli=1#gid=0

Stanford, P., Crowe, M.W., Flice, H. (2010). Differentiating with Technology. TEACHING Exceptional

Children Plus, 6(4) Article 2. Retrieved [date] from http://escholarship.bc.edu/education/tecplus/vol6/iss4/art2.

Tomlinson, C. A. (August, 2000). Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners  (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

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