With the numerous day-to-day obstacles teachers face in the classroom, Differentiated Instruction (DI), can often be daunting and feel unrealistic. Combine this with general confusion on how to achieve this method of teaching, DI can feel like a quick avenue to complicating a teacher's life to no end. However, with the right tools, you can effectively get to know your students' diverse needs, easily vary classroom content and empower your students with choices regarding their learning.
Differentiated instruction - Let's Break it Down
Much more than a buzzword, DI is an instructional technique that recognises that students have different abilities and different learning needs at different points of their learning journey and tailors instruction to meet these individual needs.
'One size fits all' does not work in education and that shouldn't be a surprise, because we're all different. Every one of us is interested in different things and responds differently to various stimuli.
DI asks teachers to know their students well and a key principle of DI is ongoing, formative assessment. We've discussed the power of formative assessment before and we've also outlined the rapid feedback features in Stile which make formative assessment easy. Engaging in continued formative assessment gives teachers an understanding of their students' strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis and is crucial in laying out the roadmap for differentiating your classroom.
Another key element of knowing your students well is also knowing their interests, passions and learning styles, a great way of doing this can be conducting surveys in class. Create and release a lesson in Stile which invites your students to detail their learning experiences and interests or try conducting a live poll.
DI doesn't mean that your have to give thirty different lessons to thirty different students, it does however, ask teachers to include learning options for their students based on the diverse learning needs and interests they have ascertained. This can be achieved by providing students with varying levels of challenge with regards to lesson content or, as Georgina Pazzi pointed out at our last community workshop, by letting students choose the way that they demonstrate learning through varied processes, activities and tools.
Options also empower students with a greater sense of ownership over their learning and allows them to differentiate their own instruction through choosing suitable challenges and expressing their learning through mediums and methods related to tools and topics they love.
DI in Stile
- Varying activities and processes
- Giving students choices
Advanced Release Mode
By delving into one of Stile's more advanced features, you'll have the option to vary the content released to groups in your class, allowing for a more targeted and tailored approach.
Firstly, access the More menu in the top-right corner of any subject in which you're a teacher. Then, simply select Change release mode... as highlighted in the screenshot below.
This will bring up another window which lets you change the release mode from Standard to Advanced.
This will allow you to release different content to each group of students!
In the picture above, Group A can now see all three activities in Stile, whereas Group B can only see the first two. This can be done for up to 8 groups.
Project Space in Stile, allows you to set activities where students to construct their responses through various content modes. Some students may be excellent writers and express themselves best in writing, others may be better visually and will want to represent their ideas through drawings or diagrams.
Project Space empowers students to choose how they would like to respond:
They're not just limited to one content mode either - they can have text and images, tables and videos and even mind maps and graphs.
The possibilities are endless!
Want to know more? Reach out to the E-Team and they can help you and your colleagues differentiate their instruction in Stile - firstname.lastname@example.org