Welcome to 21st Century Learning!

Workshop Overview

This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the possibilities of
using technology in the classroom as a means of differentiating instruction.
Participants will learn how to find resources and create activities using technology
as a way of infusing curriculum and technology.

Workshop Handout


In this workshop, you will:
  1. Define differentiated instruction
  2. Review ways to differentiate instruction with technology
  3. Evaluate resources for classroom use
  4. Discuss classroom implications
  5. Brainstorm activities for the classroom
  6. Share a lesson possibility

ISTE Standards

This workshop will help teachers accomplish the following standards:
  1. Technology Operations and Concepts - Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts. Teachers: B. demonstrate continual growth in technology knowledge and skills to stay abreast of current and emerging technologies.
  2. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences - Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology. Teachers: B. apply current research on teaching and learning with technology when planning learning environments and experiences.
    C. identify and locate technology resources and evaluate them for accuracy and suitability.
    D. plan for the management of technology resources within the context of learning activities.
    E. plan strategies to manage student learning in a technology-enhanced environment.
  3. Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum - Teachers implement curriculum plans, that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning. Teachers: A. facilitate technology-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student technology standards
    C. manage student learning activities in a technology-enhanced environment.
  4. Assessment and Evaluation - Teachers apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies. Teachers: B. use technology resources to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.
  5. Productivity and Professional Practice - Teachers use technology to enhance their productivity and professional practice. Teachers: B. continually evaluate and reflect on professional practice to make informed decisions regarding the use of technology in support of student learning.
    C. apply technology to increase productivity.
    D. use technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, parents, and the larger community in order to nurture student learning.


Differentiated Instruction is based on the following beliefs:
  • Students differ in their learning profiles
  • Classrooms in which students are active learners, decision makers and problem solvers are more natural and effective than those in which students are served a "one-size-fits-all" curriculum and treated as passive recipients of information
  • "Covering information" takes a backseat to making meaning out of important ideas.

The key to a differentiated classroom is that all students are regularly offered CHOICES and students are matched with tasks compatible with their individual learner profiles.

Curriculum should be differentiated in three areas:

1. Content: Multiple options for taking in information

2. Process: Multiple options for making sense of the ideas

3. Product: Multiple options for expressing what they know

Four ways to Differentiate Instruction

1. Differentiating the Content/Topic
  • 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.

2. Differentiating the Process/Activities
  • 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.

3. Differentiating the Product
  • 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.
4. Diffferentiating By Manipulating The Environment or Through Accommodating Individual Learning Styles
  • There has been a great deal of work on learning styles over the last 2 decades. Dunn and Dunn (http://www.learningstyles.net/) focused on manipulating the school environment at about the same time as Joseph Renzulli recommended varying teaching strategies. Howard Gardner identified individual talents or aptitudes in his Multiple Intelligences theories. Based on the works of Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (http://partners.mce.be/wbt/mbti/personal.htm) and Kersley's Temperament Sorter focused on understanding how people's personality affects the way they interact personally, and how this affects the way individuals respond to each other within the learning environment. The work of David Kolb and Anthony Gregorc's Type Delineator follows a similar but more simplified approach.

Even though these approaches look at learning styles in vastly different ways they all have merit for some children. However, an amalgamation or blending of these concepts is probably more effective than any one approach. The Dunn and Dunn approach would be most effectively applied in a building designed to accommodate environmental changes. Many classrooms offer limited opportunities to change the lighting or sound levels, to eliminate visual distracters, or to provide a more casual seating arrangement for students. Varying teaching strategies makes sure that students will occasionally learn in a manner compatible with their own learning preference but also expands their repertoire of alternative learning strategies in turn. The Multiple Intelligences Theory is very helpful for helping teachers recognize that students have differing aptitude in different subject areas, but it still requires the application of the kinds of learning strategies listed here to be effective. The MBTI and Gregorc's Style Delineator help teachers recognize how personality differences can either enhance or distract from communication between individuals.

The most significant issue relating to learning styles is the paradigm shift in education in recent years. This paradigm shift is illustrated in the way that curriculum is presently defined in the most recent programs of studies. Curriculum is no longer defined in terms of what a teacher will teach but rather in terms of what a student will be able to demonstrate. If we are to be responsible for what a child learns then it is essential that we understand what (s)he knew at the beginning and how to move him/her forward from that point in a successful manner. This means we need to understanding how each student learns best.

It also means that we need to build on what they already know.

Within these four ways for differentiating there are embedded many learning strategies which are used in conjunction with each other.

Copyrighted: www.enhancelearning.ca

Technology and Differentiated Instruction

"Computers can be a valuable and vital tool when combined with Gardner's Seven Multiple Intelligences to enable educators to reach students with a variety of learning styles." (Davis, 1991)

There are a variety of ways that each of the Multiple Intelligences can be trained and supported by the use of computers:
  • Linguistic: One easy way to incorporate the use of computers is to utilize word processing programs. These can help teach language, writing, editing, and rewriting skills. The Internet has facilitated communication and proven to be a valuable tool in language learning through e-mail, IRC, MUDs and MOOs.
  • Logical-Mathematical: There are a variety of computer programs that teach logic and critical thinking skills, even in game formats which can be motivating to students. There are many drill and practice type programs that give experience in a variety of areas in math. Database programs can help students explore and organize data and information.
  • Intrapersonal: The computer can help students develop individual skills, allowing for differences in learning styles and abilities. Some students may require extra help in content areas, and computer aided instruction can offer them that additional instruction. One of the most important benefits of computer aided instruction is that it allows students to work at their own pace.
  • Spatial: Graphics programs can help develop spatial perceptions and help develop creativity by allowing students to create their own designs. There are programs that help students visualize mathematical concepts. Students develop a sense of direction by navigating through a program since the computer often shows only one area of section at a time. Browsing the Internet and organizing files, folders, and directories on a computer involve some spatial understanding.
  • Musical: There are many programs that help students write or play music. Music is often used in computer programs to get attention or interest.
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic: Using a computer requires eye-hand coordination. Students have contact with the keyboard, mouse, joystick and other devices. Working on a computer requires students to be actively involved in their learning.
  • Interpersonal: Students can work with others on the computer, in groups of two to four would be ideal group sizes. This reinforces skills such as cooperation and communication. The computer encourages cooperative learning in any subject area.

Articles and Videos


4-H Goes Digital

Digital Media Empower Youth

Student Mentors Teach Game Design

Mothers Discuss their Kids' Digital Lives


Reading Rockets Differentiated Instruction

CAST: Differentiated Instruction

Technology empowers differentiated instruction

Tips for Technology Differentiation

Classroom Examples

Other Student Examples:
Innovation Celebration

Sudden Impact

District Resources

Workshop Project

Activity 1:
Pick a lesson of your own to use in your classroom.
When adapting your lesson make sure:
  • More than one learning style is addressed

  • There is a technology connection
  • Give an abbreviated lesson
Activity 2:
Use the following Web 2.0 tools to help you- Photostory 3, EduGloster, Wiki, Moodle, Voki, VoiceThread, Lesson Connection


Questions to Ponder: Close your eyes and picture your classroom, draw a picture of it. What does it look like? How do students interact with instruction? Now, circle the technology you have in the classroom? So, we know the challenges we all have how can we use what we have to differentiate instruction to reach the digital generation?