Differentiation has played a key role in education for as long as most can remember, but it’s finally gaining some ground. Technology is redefining the differentiation process to a level that far exceeds our manual attempts at scaling one-to-one instruction. Schools are being advised to ramp up their differentiation strategies in order to compete with state standards, but the reality is that many are still coming to terms with the last change in technology to hit their schools. Often, teachers take matters into their own hands, forming their own solutions to differentiation and investing in technology to lighten the load. The problem with this is the school body is no longer in sync, and while some teachers excel in the process, others regress to a state of confusion, under a pile of paperwork.
If a school decides to focus its attention on differentiation, providing every teacher with the resources to do so is the first vital step. By investing in a digital tool (or tools) to bring differentiated instruction to every single classroom, a school can not only reach and challenge every single student in an entire school, but simultaneously create a personalized and adaptive learning environment that decreases the teacher workload, and boosts student achievement. Some tools take another step and even combine strategies and concepts to give you your money’s worth. Let’s take a look at how schools generally allow for differentiation, and how this process can be amplified through technology integration.
- Without tech: In general, most educators facilitate differentiation by supplying different resources and assessments for certain students. While this caters to certain needs, it lacks insight and is an extremely time-consuming process that simply cannot be undertaken at whole school level.
- With tech: Adaptive systems like Fishtree provide every student with personalized resources and assessments tailored to them. This allows the students to work independently, according to their needs, eliminating the need for teachers to provide separate resources or assessments.
- Without tech: Schools gain insight into a student’s learning through assessment, generally teacher-based over an entire school year, and then school-based once each term. This method offers minimal insight as it only records snapshots of a student’s learning, and often overlooks a student’s long-term achievements.
- With tech: Fishtree’s Performance Analytics make sure every student is continually assessed, but at their own pace, and using personalized resources. The system then provides incredible insight into how a student learns, what resources they use, and if they have taken an adaptive path. This gives a teacher better knowledge of a student’s learning, and complete visibility into who is struggling, involving them in the entire process from start to finish.
- Without tech: Constructive feedback is one of the keys to student success. Teachers provide individual feedback in a number of ways, whether verbally or written as a means of motivating students and keeping them involved in the learning process. While this process is necessary, it is often very time-consuming and difficult to reach every student on an individual level without the right insights into student learning.
- With tech: A system like Fishtree provides teachers with instant feedback and remediation options throughout the entire learning process, to make sure a student is aware of their progress and objectives at all times. This gives the teacher the ability to intervene at any time, and to reassess students at scale, whether at individual, class, or whole school level. Along with the insights provided by the performance analytics, these options are available in real-time, saving time and ensuring no student gets lost along the way.
Technology can help your school achieve success in the differentiation process. Try the next generation digital tool Fishtree helping educators to facilitate personalized instruction! Hurry up, sign up today and get your FREE 30 day account!
About the author:
Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.