Instruct…differently.

Chapter 4 of the Ramsay text highlights how technology can really improve strategies for differentiated instruction. I think this information is EXTREMELY helpful as a future teacher because

1) We must be up-to-date on the latest technology and online resources not only to stand out from other teacher applicants, but to also keep our classrooms fresh and exciting.

2) Differentiated instruction is one of the most important responsibilities of teaching.

In this post, I first want to reflect on differentiated instruction, and then talk about the two different resources that Ramsay used to assist her ELL students, struggling readers, and students with exceptional needs.

The practice of differentiated instruction is so significant to a successful classroom. To briefly address this method, it is the practice of analyzing each individual student’s academic needs and, in accordance with those results, changing their process of reaching a common final product. In differentiated instruction, it is important to note that expectations are not lowered and the assignment is not changed or made any easier; instead, it is just a different way of approaching the learning process to get there. On page 63, Ramsay quotes a well-known educator and author, Rick Wormeli, saying, “The two simple charges of differentiation are: (1) do whatever it takes to maximize students’ learning instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all, whole-class method of instruction and (2) prepare students to handle anything in their current and future lives that is not differentiated, i.e., to become their own learning advocates.” I really like this quote because it summarizes the concept of differentiated instruction, but also stresses the importance of making sure students know that life cannot always be modified to fit their needs. It is so important to be a master of differentiation in the classroom; research highly supports it and I have seen it be successful during my own observations and pre-student teaching experiences. There are so many different learners in any given classroom, and this strategy is the perfect way to accommodate to all of them.

Ramsay highlights two awesome online resources to help with differentiated instruction in this chapter. I can definitely see myself using them in the future!

Jing (pages 65-66):

  • What is it? “Jing is software that enables you to capture anything you create or see on your computer screen and share it with others as an image or as part of a slideshow or movie.”
  • Who does it help? Students who struggle with oral fluency
  • How does it help? Targets oral fluency, writing, communicating, and collaborating skills

VoiceThread (pages 67-71):

  • What is it? “VoiceThread lets you create a slideshow of images and text, including photographs, artwork, videos, documents, and classroom presentations. After uploading the project, participants can have a conversation about the VoiceThread project through voice, text, or doodling.”
  • Who does it help? Students who struggle with oral fluency and writing
  • How does it help? Collaborating skills, Zoom-in options, pursue individual topics, and hear different points of view
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