OTMS Technology Goal: Differentiation

Our second OTMS Technology goal, Teachers will use technology to differentiate instruction, is certainly not a new topic, but one that is worthy of constant re-evaluation.  As existing technology tools become more sophisticated, and new tools become available, the potential for differentiation increases.  Differentiation can be applied to any of the six ISTE Student Standards, and ensures that content remains student-focused and meets the needs of individual learners.  For those of us who are visual learners, ASCD has created an infographic that summarizes what differentiation is and what it is not. This provides us with a quick reminder that differentiation is more than group work or ability grouping. (By the way, infographics are a great way for students to demonstrate learning and can be created in Google Drawings or easelly.  Easelly is a web tool dedicated to designing infographics and provides many templates to begin a new project.  Plus, easelly allows users to create accounts with a Google login.)  I will also share 3 Myths and 3 Truths, and Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction.  Both of these articles reinforce the information displayed in the ASCD infographic and summarize the flexibility and benefits of differentiation.  In the coming weeks, I will share more information that is specific to using technology as a tool for differentiation.

Technology Celebrations
Students in computer lit are beginning a multi-week coding unit by creating their own Flappy Bird game using Code.org.  By manipulating blocks of code, students are able to set the parameters of their game including speed, sound, scene, character, and scoring.  After they customize the game, they can play it on their Chromebook or phone.

Eighth grade ELA is using Plickers as a formative assessment tool to quickly collect student feedback.  Plickers creates a unique card for each student that has a four-sided shape–each side of the shape is associated with choice A, B, C, or D.  Students answer questions by holding the card with the side of their chosen answer facing up.  The teacher then scans the room with a phone or tablet (using the Plickers app) and the app instantly shows who answered correctly.

Seventh grade Read 180 students are taking turns teaching figurative language to their classmates.  Each “teacher” then creates their own quiz using Quizlet or Google Forms which their “students” take after their instruction.