Thursday, June 24, 2010
In today's world of diverse learners and students with special needs, teachers need to be more creative in how they handle instruction in a digital classroom, filled with Web 2.0 applications. A classroom teacher may be faced with a room filled with 30 students, with as many as three distinct learning levels. These may be regular education students with different ability levels, or there may be a high and low group and a four or five students with IEPs.
The teacher is faced with the challenge of teaching the same objective or learning standard to all of the students in the different groups.
In the old days, a teacher might give the same assignment to all students and simply score it differently -- essentially giving grades away to weaker students. Or, the teacher might shorten assignments for students with disabilities -- not a bad strategy but still difficult to effectively deliver. Say, for example, a math teacher is distributing an assignment on a sheet of paper, containing 20 algebra problems. Johnny, a strong student, gets the 20-problem sheet. Jill, a student with an IEP, gets a sheet with 10 problems, which are clearly easier than Johnny's. Johnny, bright but outspoken, shouts, "Hey, why does Jill have to do less?" Jill, as many students with disabilities will do says, "Because I'm the stupid kid." Suddenly, the entire class is laughing and shouting that they want different assignments. Jill is crestfallen, demanding individual attention from the teacher. Chaos ensues.
The digital classroom of today creates a much different environment. With Web 2.0 applications, like blogs, wikis, and social media, the creative teacher can easily differentiate instruction, building assignments that meet the needs of all students, including those on IEPs.
The activity demonstrated on this differentiating instruction video is just one example of the many ways today's digital classroom teachers can use Web 2.0 applications to meet the needs of all learners, without embarassing anyone or creating chaos in the classroom.
So how are you using Web 2.0 applications to differentiate instruction in your classroom?