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Using Technology in a Differentiated Classroom with Verizon Thinkfinity . BJ Gallagher, PhD, CCC-SLP. Our premise and objective…. Technology integration and differentiated instruction complement each other.

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Using technology in a differentiated classroom with verizon thinkfinity

Using Technology in a Differentiated Classroomwith Verizon Thinkfinity

BJ Gallagher, PhD, CCC-SLP

Our premise and objective
Our premise and objective…

Technology integration and differentiated instruction complement each other.

This presentation provides the rationale for differentiating using technology, as well as a multitude of examples that may be used in your classroom.

What is differentiation
What is Differentiation?

is a process involving students, allowing them to process, construct, make sense of ideas within a classroom regardless of differences in ability.

Differentiation stems from beliefs about differences among learners, how they learn, learning preferences, and individual interests.

Anderson, K.M. ( 2007). Tips for teaching: Differentiating instruction to include all students. Preventing School Failure, 51(3), 49-54.

Where to start
Where to start

  • Teachers recognize individual differences

  • Engage students in different sensory modalities as well as multiple intelligences and brain preferences

  • Use varied rates of instruction, complexity levels, and teaching strategies allowing students to express their knowledge learned in a variety of formats

Step one
Step One

Complete a Pre-Assessment to set up your Flexible Grouping by noting each student’s:

  • Learning Profile

  • Interest

  • Readiness levels

Pre assessment tools
Pre-assessment Tools

Websites where you can create your own pre-assessments (subscription required):



  • Free survey creator

  • MI Inventory

Ways to differentiate
Ways to differentiate


The depth/complexity of the knowledge base a student explores

Requires that students are pre-tested

Teachers identify students who do not require direct instruction.


The way in which a student gains access to knowledge

A performance task enabling students to practice and understand the content


The way in which a student's knowledge of a subject is demonstrated

The outcome of the lesson—an assessment or project

Tiered assignments
Tiered Assignments

Designed to instruct all students on the same objectives but at different levels of complexity and open-endedness.

May be two or more tiers per assignment.

The tasks at each tier allow students to process the information and gain understanding at their own ability level.


Process of modifying instruction by determining those basic

skills students have already mastered

Practice or repetition of those skills is replaced by more challenging option

Alternatives may include enrichment or accelerated study.

Compacting the curriculum
Compacting the Curriculum

  • Cool! Awesome! What Is It?

  • A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Centers or groups
Centers or Groups

Interest groups used with secondary students

Interest centers used with elementary students

designed so that learning experiences relate to a specific interest

Students may select a topic generating increased motivation

Web 2 0 tools for centers
Web 2.0 Tools for Centers


  • Learning Clubs: Motivating Middle School Readers and Writers


Learning contract
Learning Contract

A written agreement between the teacher and student.

Teacher specifies the concepts and skills to be learned along with the required components of the assignment.

The student identifies the methods for completing the tasks.

The contract allows the student to work independently while setting daily and weekly work goals and developing management skills.

Lessons with contracts
Lessons with Contracts

  • Student Contracts

  • Student Reading Contract

Flexible grouping
Flexible Grouping

Students are not assigned to the same group for each task or area of study.

Students may be placed in a group based on readiness, interest, and/or learning profile.

Teachers or students may designate groups.

Allows students to interact with a variety of their peers without being identified with any specific group or ability level

Differentiate by product resources and interests
Differentiate by product, resources and interests

What can we learn from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed?

Grades 3-5

Internet scavenger hunt
Internet Scavenger Hunt

  • Building Vietnam War Scavenger Hunts through Web-based Inquiry

  • Can be differentiated by Internet readiness ability, resources, and interest.



Helps students perceive an idea or concept from six different points of view.

Each of the six faces of a cube represents a different perspective for an idea.

Students roll the cube and complete the activity displayed on the top face of the cube.

Tasks vary in difficulty

Not all students/groups receive the same cube.

May be differentiated by readiness, interest, and/or learning profile.

Use of cubing in a lesson
Use of Cubing in a Lesson

  • Strategic Reading and Writing: Summarizing Antislavery Biographies

Independent study projects
Independent Study Projects

Independent study projects are research projects where students develop the skills for independent learning.

Use of kidport
Use of Kidport

  • Students can explore on their own interests.


Student Material Resources

A collection of supports for literacy learning in the K-12 classroom.

Interactive tools can be used to supplement a variety of lessons

Provide an opportunity for students to use technology while developing their literacy skills.


Word Study with Harry and Mudge

Struggling readers need instruction in word recognition to improve not only their reading skills but also their writing and spelling skills as well.

Applying small-group differentiated reading model to a systematic word study of the past tense marker –ed,

Helps second- and third-grade students identify both base words and suffixes.

Reading differentiated with reading levels using Comic Book Creator



Play by yourself or against a friend to form pairs. Match numbers, shapes, fractions, or multiplication facts to equivalent representations. The game can be used to practice facts by using the clear pane mode, or for an added challenge, play the game with the windows closed.


Web Resources Gallery

The Web Resources Gallery - a myriad of English language arts resources


Meeting the Immigrants

A webquest that differentiates focusing on various roles which provides a variety of resources


Area Contractor

Gives students the opportunity to explore surface area in the same way that a contractor might when providing an estimate to a potential customer

Once the customer accepts the estimate, a more detailed measurement is taken and a quote prepared.

Students use estimation to determine the surface area of the walls and floor of their classroom.

They check the reasonableness of their estimates, and then measure the classroom for accuracy.

Differentiated by role in the group.


The Great Gatsby Cruise

A webquest that differentiates the product and process along with resources depending on the role chosen.


Graphs from the Unit Circle

Students use uncooked spaghetti to transfer lengths from the unit circle to a function graph on large butcher paper.

They discover the key features of sine and cosine graphs.

Students working in degrees, but another version of the handouts is provided for students working in radians.


Grow School Greens

A webquest to create a garden. Differentiated by role in group along with selection of how the information is presented.


differentiate through independent study

ThinkQuest Website


    Examples of ThinkQuest sites

  • Sustainability

  • Living on the Brink

  • I Can Do That! Coping Successfully With Amputations


Additional differentiated web sites
Additional Differentiated Web Sites

  • More places that you can visit every day.

  • Education World

  • Sites that lend themselves to differentiation: Ben's Guide to Government for Kids


Learning Beyond the Classroom

(PreK-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12)


Career blog
Career Blog

Created for students ages 11-14


Chatting about Books: Recommendations for Young Readers (Ages 4-11)

  • the classroom/summer/podcastsvideos/CAB/013humore.asp


Accountable Book Clubs: Focused Discussions


Online tools
Online Tools:

  • Scrapblog

  • Scratch

  • GoogleDocs

  • Social Networks


General tools
General Tools

Free web 2 0 tool links
Free Web 2.0 tool links

Cool Tools for Schools

Categories: Presentation, video, slideshow, widgets, research, collaborative, quiz and poll, converters, image, drawing, audio, mapping, music, writing, organizing, storing, and graphing! Hundreds of links.