Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thing 6 - Differentiated Instruction

The clip about 21st Century Learners was very interesting. I loved the look at the school that had lots of media tools, but could put them away when they weren't the best tool for the job. I also found the idea that 21st Century Learners don't need to be as concerned with learning content as in working with it/producing something with it. I really like that idea. I also believe that we don't get enough out of the technology students already have such as iPods and phones. We need to be able to harness that and use it appropriately in the classroom.

1. Differentiated Learning: To me, the key to differentiated learning is variety. I already incorporate many of the aspects of differentiated instruction in my classroom, such as flexible grouping and giving choices. I also make teaching concept driven and I try to push students to think creatively and critically. I don't want a regurgitation of the facts, but a creative application of the facts and the ability to apply them in a new situation. While I do incorporate some differentiated instruction, I still have much to learn.

2. Digital Text: This reminded me that the textbooks I use are also available online. The student can choose to have the online version read to them, and it is human voice rather than the stilted computer voice of the text-to-speech engines like Vozme. Students are also able to highlight, underline, and add online postit notes into the text so it is much more interactive. Most students like to have the text read aloud to them, so it makes those students for whom reading is difficult not feel like they're "different".

3. I did make an account on Learnport and explored there a bit, but the thing I'll reflect on are the great current events resource I found on the UDL site that will work for both my 7th and 8th grade classes. The different ways these sites organize current events and how they are presented to students allows students to choose a way that works best for them and allows them to choose an article that piques their interest, rather than just choosing and article to get the assignment done. Below is a screenshot of my 8th grade Moodle page:

4. The text to speech converter of Vozme is easy to use and I like that no software needs to be installed. It will be very useful for copying and pasting bits of website text into for students who struggle in doing research because of a struggle with their reading vocabulary (as opposed to their listening vocabulary, which is normally higher for most students).

Here's the link to the video: http://screencast.com/t/5PCO4lK8yViW

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