Differentiation is something I highly value as an educator – the idea that there are multiple intelligences in the classroom; that students learn differently; and that all students can benefit from being taught important concepts in many different ways – these are all vital components to effective teaching.
Technology can offer much to the process of differentiation. Supplementing traditional teaching methods with videos, tutorials, web searches and simulations all offer multiple avenues to information.
In teaching a Simple Machines unit with second graders during student teaching, in addition to hands-on experimentation with simple machines and reading and writing about the subject, the unit included a video and BrainPOP cartoon, an electronic sorting game on the Promethean board, and different images of simple machines found in the world. These resources taught the important concepts that I targeted with the unit:
– identifying simple machines
– explaining how simple machines help us/their purpose
By using differentiation in the unit, I was able to better engage students and hit on important points multiple times.