Powering Up With Technology
Using Technology to Differentiate Instruction
Lady Bernadette Dolandolan (Didi)
Maria Salud Mercado (Ricci)
This presentation will explore the application of technology to the design of
instructional materials and activities that make the learning goals achievable by
students in an early childhood setting.
There are so many variables (socio-economic, health, family dynamics, etc.) that
impact upon a child's ability to learn. However, differentiated instruction provides a
means to address many of the educational factors leading to gaps in achievement. It
grasps both ends to pull up the middle taking into account individual learning needs
and learning styles while providing the least restrictive educational environment for all
students to meet their potential. (Dr. Carolyn O. Burleson, 2003)
" is a model of instruction that revolves around the belief that students learn in many
different ways." (Verde, 2004)
It means –
providing materials and tasks at varied levels of difficulty with varying degrees of
scaffolding, through multiple instructional groups, and
encouraging student success by varying ways in which students work: alone or
collaboratively, in auditory or visual modes, or through practical or creative
Why differentiate instruction?
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Because not all children learn in the same way.
Because NCLB says all children need to become proficient.
Because research and practice demonstrate that differentiated instruction
techniques are effective.
Because we can maximize student's growth by meeting each student where he
or she is and helping them progress.
Because of the diversity of students found in today's classrooms. (ELL, disabilities,
cultural backgrounds, etc.)
Using Technology to Differentiate Instruction
Technology can help you tailor instruction to meet the needs of all students by allowing
channels of input, and
means of output.
Technology is also an excellent platform for cooperative learning.
Provide various means of engaging students in processing and transforming
Internet – Web Resources
• A modern computer connected to the Internet and running standard
software provides a wide array of features, as well as access to a vast
amount of information.
• Finding online books and text has become increasingly easy thanks to the
creation of indices designed specifically for teachers, as well as searchable
collections of books and documents.
• Example of Websites – Starfall, Super Why, United Streaming, Safari Montage
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• The development of a thinking map serves to deepen the thought process. It
engenders questioning and evokes higher reasoning powers.
Graphic Organizers and Concept Maps
“…a visual representation of concepts, knowledge, or information that can
incorporate both text and pictures.”
• Graphic organizers are particularly suited to:
• generating ideas (brain-storming, etc.)
• organizing & displaying information
• aiding learning by explicitly integrating new and old
• assessing understanding or diagnosing
• increasing recall
• designing a complex structure (long texts, large web
• sites, etc.)
• incorporating both images and text
• Types of graphic organizers
• Concept maps
• Flow charts
• Venn diagrams
• Time lines
• Generating graphic organizers electronically, using specialized software such as
Kidspiration 2/Inspiration, graphics software such as Kid Pix
• It allows students to access their own prior knowledge of a topic, plan their
inquiry and assess what they learn from the process.
Channels of Input
Accessibility Options are important considerations for students with visual,
hearing or motor difficulties.
Text – Besides traditional reading intake, digitized text can be manipulated
onscreen for easier reading. Text fonts can be reformatted and resized.
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• Maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, concept maps
• Video (enable close captions when available)
• Photographs & drawn or computer generated images
• Digital photography can enhance student learning and communication.
• Photo essays
• Digital scavenger hunts
• Prompts for work on literacy skills
• Math illustrations
• How-to books
• Trading cards
• A text reader can help English language learners as well as students with visual
• Kindergarteners can listen to individual letters and work in an exploratory fashion.
Talking text is an important additional tool for supporting comprehension for
some students, and several research studies have identified its promise for
helping students with reading disabilities comprehend written materials (National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000).
• Recorded readings of various literary genre.
Manipulatives work well for kinesthetic learners.
• Computer simulations and educational games
• Internet interactivity with on-screen manipulatives for language, math or science
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An online Dictionary/Thesaurus offers immediate access to unfamiliar words.
Virtual Field Trips afford students a chance to visit and learn about far-away
Means of Output
Explore various options for using technology for students to show what they know.
Determine which are appropriate and how to apply them in your classroom setting.
How can these tools allow individual creativity to flourish while meeting content
• Word processed document
• Web page
• Draw, Photograph, Animate
• Any paint or draw program that comes with the computer operating system can
be used to express what a student understands.
• Hand-drawn student artwork or photos can be scanned into a computer to add
to a project.
• Digital cameras allow for quick transference of images into a computer for
editing and adding to a project.
• There are many commercial programs such as MS PhotoDraw, Adobe
Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, MS PowerPoint, HyperStudio or KidPix for younger
students, that can help students express their knowledge and understanding of a
• Students may have their understanding assessed orally while using a multimedia
presentation to demonstrate as they speak.
• Role-play, dance, play an instrument, engage in a sport, conduct an
experiment, demonstrate how to build or create something.
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• Sound recorders, video cameras and editing software give students access to a
wonderful multi-medium for showing what they know.
What Schools and Districts Can Do to Support Technology Use
Administrators and technology committees can help teachers extract full value
from existing software to support teaching and learning. An investment in appropriate
professional development is needed for the successful implementation of these tools.
Teachers also need time to think about how to integrate technology resources into their
classroom in a way that fully supports instruction.
offering several one-hour training sessions, to give teachers adequate time to
explore existing software features, to plan how to integrate them, and to share
their ideas with colleagues;
finding mentors within the district, including inclusion specialists or other special
education staff who may already have expertise in using technology to
customize curriculum and instruction and who can share their knowledge with
encouraging staff to contribute technology tips at staff meetings in order to
share strategies that are a good fit with your curriculum;
asking in-house and visiting technology staff developers to address the needs of
diverse learners whenever they provide training at your site;
when purchasing new software and curriculum, looking for features that can
support a mixed-ability classroom, such as text-to-speech, color-coding,
adjustments for different ability levels, and graphic options.
Technology Tips for Differentiated Instruction
by WestEd’s Regional Technology in Education Consortium (RTEC) in partnership with the
Alliance for Technology Access
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