Technology empowers differentiated instruction

by frances 10. April 2009 08:41

eSchool News (Monday Feb 02, 2009),  Technology empowers differentiated instruction  ISTE webinar offers new strategies for ensuring that all students learn by tailoring instruction to their abilities, needs, and interests By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor.

This is a great article to read from two Primary/Elementary Educators, Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne, authors of the book Differentiating Instruction with Technology in K-5 Classrooms and the soon-to-be-published Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms.  



Smith and Throne provide lots of practical ways teachers can engage their students including:

  • Tic-Tac-Toe Board with various activities that students can choose from
  • "I-Search" (see I-Search Unit , and, I-Search Curriculum Unit ); or
    • Webbe (where students make their own web books
  • WebQuests,
  • interest centres
  • flexible groups,
  • literature circles,
  • Role Audience Format Topic Tech (R.A.F.T.T.),
  • Jigsaw, or
  • computer software.

For WebQuests, "Working collaboratively, students use web research tools to investigate a teacher-designed topic of interest. They can also work collaboratively and use technology to create, write, publish, and present their information to their peers," said Throne in explaining WebQuests. WebQuests challenge students to solve a problem or answer a complex question with several possible answers. In the process, students typically learn about several different subject areas."

"Above all, DI [Differentiated Instruction] should be used to promote 21st-century skills," said Smith. "This includes digital-age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity. A mastery of these skills will lead to student achievement." Both authors said technology is a great choice to consider for DI, because it helps to personalize instruction, enhances learning with multimedia components, can help students construct new knowledge, and motivates students with their work.

Other websites referenced of Interest:

1. Everything DI

2. Dare to Differentiate: Choice Boards


4. WebQuest Maker [Limited functions!]

5. Reading Strategies (RAFTT)


It all seems a lot of work - but with worthwhile results!!!

From my experience, students who are provided with WebQuests [as well as these other DI techniques] are given real skills and are engaged in their learning process.

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

Scot Aldred's Blog (Colleague at Central Queensland University and guru on Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

The Innovative Educator

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eLearn Magazine Blog

Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

Primary Blog

Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!


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