Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Using Technology for Differentiation

In every classroom, there are a variety of students who bring forth multiple learning styles, learning speeds, and learning abilities.  While some students are able to catch on to things quickly no matter the method of teaching, other children need extra practice and need to be taught using creative methods.  Incorporating technology into a classroom may assist in meeting the needs of all students if implemented properly.  Technology can be used to facilitate differentiation and better meet the needs of the students. 

If you have ever stood in front of a classroom, with what seems to sometimes be a sea of students staring back at you, you probably know how challenging it can be to make sure that the needs of all those students are being met.  It isn’t possible to make one lesson plan using one learning style, and every student in the class grasp what you are trying to teach them.  Instead, with each lesson plan, you have to ask yourself, “Now, what all learning styles do I need to incorporate into this lesson so that all of my students will understand?”  Even when you plan what may feel like the “perfect” lesson, when it comes time to teach it, the students seem to be stuck in this realm of misunderstanding.  In order to combat this, many teachers are starting to switch gears in their classroom.  More and more educators are finding that the most effective way to reach all students is to bring technology into the classroom.  When doing this, teachers can find a plethora of resources that will cater to the needs of every student.  Instead of an entire class all focusing on one lesson, they can be learning about the same idea using a variety of tools. 

Many times one class is made up of students who are all at very different academic levels.  The classroom makeup may include students who are considered academically gifted, developmentally delayed, ADHD, or ESL learners.  While this may seem overwhelming, technology offers a way for students to learn the same content while moving at their own pace.  Sure, finding the appropriate technology may take a considerable amount of research on the teacher’s part, but if the students are learning, it is time well spent.  Finding resources is not as difficult as it used to be.  Social networking websites like Twitter and Pinterest are excellent places to find tools to use in the classroom.  One resource I have found focuses on using technology to address the multiple intelligences.  The link to this site is listed below:

            On this website, there are links to many different resources to use in the classroom.  All of these websites are categorized under the appropriate learning style.  Having this website in a teaching toolbox, and implementing it in the classroom, will assist teachers to meet the needs of each learning style.  Almost all of the websites can be used for multiple subject areas or lessons. Also, beside each link there is a description of what can be done on each website.   If students feel as though their teacher is trying to cater to their needs, and is using a creative approach to learning, they will be more likely to learn in their classroom.  

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