Children learn differently using various modalities and multiple intelligences. Educators need to find avenues for students to utilize and maximize learning opportunities. According to Dr. Ross, it is an educator’s responsibility to provide students with access to the curriculum (Laureate Education, 2009). This course has taught me ways to create flexibility with instruction using technology to meet the individual needs of all learners. I will immediately adjust my instructional practices regarding the use of technology integration to customize instruction.
The first thing I will do to adjust my instructional practices is to use technology to determine my students’ learning profiles and interests. When students are interested and motivated to learn, they will move through the learning process on their own instead of the teacher having to drag them through it (Laureate Education, 2009). I will learn about my students’ learning profiles and interests by having them complete my survey “Getting to Know You” located at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8T37G5L. This survey will help me design effective instruction and assessment for my students. It is my responsibility to make sure that I understand my students’ interests and learning styles so that I can provide effective learning experiences.
The second thing I will do to immediately adjust my instructional practices is to use technology to differentiate assessments. I will use technology to assess students’ academic strengths and weaknesses. The evolution of technology has created opportunities for differentiation in classrooms that were not possible before. Technology has created ways for teachers to “bridge the gap” (Laureate Education, 2009) between students’ learning styles and assessments. Teachers are now able to assess children in ways that were not available previously. “By using assessment strategies that draw students into the assessment process, it is more likely that they learn more” (Science Education Resource Center, 2010). I will continue to use my district’s online benchmarking program “Orchard” as a formative assessment to create individualized and effective instruction. In addition, I will integrate using digital answering devices (clickers) to assess student understanding during a lesson. Students that typically are shy may be more willing to answer if they do not have to speak. Another way I will differentiate assessments is to allow students to create digital portfolios instead of taking written paper and pencil tests. Digital portfolios can support my efforts to provide students with an alternative assessment that engages learners and supports all types of learning modalities. A portfolio allows students to display their work as they master content.
The third thing I will do to immediately change my instructional practices is to use technology to add differentiated elements within the instruction. According to Dr. Rose, the brain has three networks that are responsible for doing different things yet they work together to identify and process information. The recognition network identifies patterns such as chairs, dogs, cats etc. The strategic network helps a person problem solve and the affective network identifies emotions. The brain “not only distributes processing to different places according to what kind of task it is but it also distributes processing differently when you’re a beginner at a task than when you’re an expert at a task” (Laureate Education, 2009). Each person has these networks but they are specific to that person which creates different learning modalities. I will meet different learning styles by presenting information in a variety of ways such as concept maps using Inspiration, visual imagery using power points and/or outlines using Microsoft Word. In addition, to replace lecture and a one-size-fits-all lesson, I will create choice boards to allow students options in how they prefer to learn content. The choice board could include activities that provide support for reading using technology and/or project-based learning using technology to research and create products. Finally, I will include additional opportunities for students to reinforce skills using technology skill-based activities such as Academic Skill Builders for Wii (http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/wii/).
Technology will allow me to differentiate in ways that were not as easily possible previously. As I immediately adjust my instruction using technology, I will need to remember that differentiation is not about creating many lessons for one topic (Laureate Education, 2009). It is about allowing flexibility for readiness, interest and learning profiles within one lesson and topic. Students enter the classroom with different background knowledge and preferred methods of learning. It is my responsibility to make sure that all students have equal access to learning in the classroom. Technology will help me fulfill this responsibility.
Academic Inc.,. (n.d.). Play the games on Wii. Retrieved from http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/wii/
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Brain research and universal design for learning. Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Initials. (Producer). (2009). Learner differences. [Educational Video].Baltimore:Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Reaching and engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore: Author.
Orchard Learning, Inc., . (2010). Orchard. Retrieved from http://www.orchardsoftware.com/target.php
Parker, Jennifer. (2010). Get to know you survey.Retrieved from http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8T37G5L.
Science Education Resource Center, . (2010, May 26). Assessment. Retrieved from http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/assessment/index.html