Content can be described as the knowledge, skills and attitudes we want children to learn. Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so the teacher can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students demonstrating understanding of the concept can skip the instruction step and proceed to apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. This strategy is often referred to as compacting the curriculum. Another way to differentiate content is simply to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently on some projects, i.e. they cover the content faster than their peers.
Differentiating the processes means varying learning activities or strategies to provide appropriate methods for students to explore the concepts. It is important to give students alternative paths to manipulate the ideas embedded within the concept. For example students may use graphic organizers, maps, diagrams or charts to display their comprehension of concepts covered. Varying the complexity of the graphic organizer can very effectively facilitate differing levels of cognitive processing for students of differing ability.
Differentiating the product means varying the complexity of the product (http://www.rogertaylor.com/reference/Product-Grid.pdf) that students create to demonstrate mastery of the concepts. Students working below grade level may have reduced performance expectations, while students above grade level may be asked to produce work that requires more complex or more advanced thinking. There are many sources of alternative product ideas available to teachers. However sometimes it is motivating for students to be offered choice of product.
Differentiation with the aid of technology
Differentiation with theaid of technology.Kylie Taig
What is differentiation?―Differentiation means tailoringinstruction to meet individualneeds. Whether teachersdifferentiatecontent, process, products or thelearning environment, the use ofongoing assessment and flexiblegrouping makes thus a successfulapproach to instruction‖Carol Ann Tomlinson
Impacts of technology onlearning #1―Technology improves student performancewhen the application directly supports thecurriculum objectives being assessed.”In other words, technology is most effective whenintegrated with curriculum content.
Impacts of technology onlearning #2―Technology improves performance when theapplication provides opportunities for studentcollaboration.”Studies show that paired and collaborativelearning in conjunction with technology enhancesstudent performance.
Impacts of technology onlearning #3―Technology improves performance when theapplication adjusts for student ability andprior experience, and provides feedback to thestudent and teacher about studentperformance or progress with theapplication.”This finding supports the differentiated instructionpractices of coaching and mentoring as well assharing responsibility for learning.
Impacts of technology onlearning #4“Technology improves performance when theapplication is integrated into the typicalinstructional day.”This finding supports classroomand content learning with technology as opposedto lab learning with technology.
Impacts of technology onlearning #5“Technology improves performance when theapplication provides opportunities forstudents to design and implement projectsthat extend the curriculum content beingassessed by a particular standardised test.”Student-created products, multimedia, and videostreaming are examples of how technology canextend curriculum content.
Impacts of technology onlearning #6“Technology improves performance when used inenvironments where teachers, the schoolcommunity, and school and district administratorssupport the use of technology.”In addition to performance improvements tied toadministrative support for technology, findings showthat integration of technology withinstruction, professional development forteachers, and computer use at home and school withdifferentiated products and student entry pointscombine to improve performance.
Teachers can differentiate:ContentProcessProductEnvironment
According to:student readinessstudent intereststudent learning profile
ByContentDifferent levels of reading or resourcematerials, reading buddies, small groupinstruction, curriculum compacting, multi-level computer programs and WebQuests, tape- recorded materials, etc.ByProcessActivity choice boards, tiered activities,multi-level learning center tasks, similarreadiness groups, choice in group work,varied journal prompts, mixed readinessgroups with targeted roles for students, etcByProductTiered products, students choose mode ofpresentation to demonstrate learning,independent study, varied rubrics,mentorships, interest-based investigationsTeacherdependentwaystodifferentiate:
ByInterestOptions in content, topic, or theme,options in the tools needed for production,options in methods for engagementByProfileConsideration of gender, culture, learningstyles, strengths, and weaknessesByReadinessIdentification of backgroundknowledge/gaps in learning, options inamount of direct instruction, options inamount of practice, options in pace ofinstruction, options in complexity activities,options in level of analysis/exploration of atopicStudentdependentwaystodifferentiate:
Differentiating by CONTENT:Differentiating by content can happen in a varietyof ways, but the two primary means include:1) Using different content to teach the samesubject to students with different needs, and2) Enhancing or augmenting existing content tomake it accessible to all students.
And don’t forget…Online course platforms like ClassE (Blackboard)provide a structure for content, allowing teachersto organise material in such a way to make themeasily accessible to students.
Differentiating by PROCESSThe process of how the material in a lesson is learnedmay be differentiated for students based on theirlearning styles, interest and readiness. This stage ofdifferentiation allows students to learn based either onwhat method is easiest for them to acquireknowledge, or what may challenge them most: somestudents may prefer to read about a topic (or mayrequire practice in reading), and others may prefer tolisten (or require practice in listening), or acquireknowledge by manipulating objects associated withthe content.
Process =1) Flexible Grouping2) How information is Processed and Recorded3) Manipulating Information4) Extending learning time – without extendingyour work day!
And don’t forget…One of the easiest differentiation tools for a reading passage isa software program that most teachers have readily at hand —Microsoft Word.Smaller reading passages, copied and pasted into MicrosoftWord, can be easily enhanced to aid comprehension usingstandard formatting features within the program.Using the highlighting feature can help students focus onparticular aspects of a text like parts of speech, literarydevices, or key elements of a paragraph or research paper.Teachers can also use the comment feature to providescaffolding or context for a student who needs help with areading passage.Comments allow a user to insert a call-out box elaborating on adifficult vocabulary word, idiomatic expression, or complicatedidea.
Differentiating by PRODUCT:Student deomnstrations of learning refect who theyare as individuals, who they are as creators and whothey are as learners.Differentiating by product means offering options forhow students will express their understanding of thelearning goals and objectives.Allowing students to ‗choose‘ empowers them andincreases their motivation and engagement.
There is a lot to consider…O Learning styles, skill levels and ratesO Learning difficultiesO Language proficiencyO Background experiences and knowledgeO InterestsO MotivationO Social and emotional developmentO Various intelligences