Welcome to Differentiating the Classroom Environment through Technology Winter 2013
This page suggests some technology tools to help identify, monitor, and manage the learners in a differentiated learning classroom.

1. Accessible Technology to Allow Students to Self-Assess Their Own Learning

Students who are involved in a self assessment are motivated to achieve higher goals and expectations. We need to involve our students in the assessment process. Teachers need to allow for more talk time and decisions making for students. Learning needs to be focused upon in greater detail and less emphasis upon the tests. Students become more of an active participate in learning within the classroom and during parent teacher conferences (Sackson, 2010). Feedback is important to allow for students to monitor their understanding, and this can be accomplished through cooperative learning structure or direct teacher feedback. Students should be challenged to create goals and revisit the goals to assess if they are making progress towards the goals.

Students can participate in self assessment in various ways. Rubrics allow students to understand the assignment and assess if they are meeting the criteria. Learning contracts give students the opportunity to evaluate the areas they are working on and how they did in each area. The learning contracts can be done on behavior or academics. Muddy point boards give students the opportunity at the end of a class to write down or email what they need additional instruction on because they have not gain a full understanding of the topic. Using electronic tools such as Class Dojo can allow students to monitor if they are meeting certain criteria for the class. Again they can monitor academics such as finger spacing, capital letters, or punctuation. Students can also access behavior if they are meeting expectations or not meeting expectations for the day. If classroom have access to iPad, laptops, or computers, the students can receive electronic copies of assessments via the computer to complete and return to the teacher electronically.

Chart showing how self-evaluation contributes to learning
Chart showing how self-evaluation contributes to learning

Self Assessment for Group Task

Level 1: Beginning
Level 2: Developing
Level 3: Accomplished
Level 4: Exemplary
Research and information collection
I did not collect any information
I collected some information
I collected information related to the topic
I collected information related to the topic, and I assisted others in collecting information.
Sharing Information
I did not share information with others
I shared a little information with peers
I shared information some information with the group
I shared a lot of information with the group
Participation within the group and tasks
I did not participate in the group tasks
I participated a little in the group tasks
I Participated a some in the group tasks
I participated a lot in the group tasks
Completing Tasks
I did not complete the assigned tasks
I completed some of the tasks
I completed most of the tasks
I completed all of the tasks
Group cooperation
I argued with peers
I argued sometimes with peers
I used mostly positive discussion skills, but I did argue a little
I used positive discussion skills to complete tasks
Making Fair Decisions
I had to have things my way
I had to have most of the tasks my way
I was mostly flexible, but I still had to control some of the tasks.
I was flexible and fair in decision making skills
Listening to My Group Members
I did not use active listening skills
I used a little activate listening skills
I used mostly active listening skills
I always utilized active listening skills

Additional Resources:

2. Accessible Technology to Allow Students to Set and Track Goals

Title: Using Accessible Technology to Allow Students to Set and Track Goals
Grade Levels: adaptable for all grades
Overview: There are many resources available which allow students to set and track goals. These lessons focus on the expectation for students to take an active role in their education by analyzing progress, setting goals, and creating action plans, which enables students to evaluate their learning based on any given Alaska Content Standard.

Objectives: Introductory unit for implementing Student Data Folders/Portfolios in a differentiated classroom.

Students will:

ð write their individual mission statements based on their own needs, aligned with the classroom mission as closely as possible (Lesson 1)

ð formulate connection between classroom data center and personal data folder (compare) (Lesson 2)

ð examine the purpose of a personal data folder (Lesson 2)

ð investigate what contents a data folder might contain (Lesson 3)

ð define items to be included in data binder and their purpose (why include it in the binder) (Lesson 3)

ð collect examples of items a personal data folder might contain and share with class (Lesson 3)

ð begin to analyze data to form personal goals/objectives and action plans based on curricular and stakeholders expectations and individual needs and missions (Lesson 4)

ð begin to create and manage digital personalized data folder/plan (Lesson 4)

For the entire unit of four lessons please refer to the attached file:

Additional Resources:

3. Results of Using a Tool(s) that Analyzes Student Differences

Title: Tools for Assessing Students’ Learning Styles

Overview: There are many resources available for determining students’ learning styles and/or multiple intelligences. These resources could include both technology options and paper methods. Both are used to gain a better understanding of how students learn so that teachers and educators can develop lessons and instruction that fit the diverse needs of their students.

Standards for teachers:
  • A teacher understands how students learn and develop, and applies that knowledge in the teacher's practice. Performances that reflect attainment of this standard include:
    • a. Accurately identifying and teaching to the developmental abilities of students
    • b. Applying learning theory in practice to accommodate differences in how students learn, including accommodating differences in student intelligence, perception, and cognitive style.
Standards for students:
  • A student should be able to operate technology-based tools
    • Use technological tools for learning, communications, and productivity
  • A student should be able to identify career interests and plan for career options
    • Identify and appreciate personal interests, aptitudes, abilities, and priorities

  • Teachers will deliver learning style and multiple intelligences surveys to their students to determine their preferred method of learning.
  • Students will recognize their own learning styles from the completion of the learning style inventory.
  • Students will use their preferred learning style to find different methods to help them succeed in class.

Materials (Tools) Needed:

Age Level(s):
  • Grades 2 and 3- Technology tool
  • Grades 9-12- Paper method

Method of Delivery:
  1. To begin the lesson, explain the standards and the objectives for the lesson.
    1. Orally give the standards and objectives and have them written on the board as well.
  2. After explaining the standards and objectives, introduce students to the different learning styles below:
      1. Visual
        1. Prefers images, pictures, and diagrams
        2. Drawing, doodling, etc. is something you like to do
      2. Verbal
        1. Learns best through listening
        2. Benefits from talking things through and reading aloud
        3. Good at writing
      3. Tactile/Kinesthetic
        1. Learns through interaction and doing
      4. Musical
        1. Learns through patterns, music, and rhythms
      5. Naturalist
        1. Learns through classification, categories, and hierarchies
      6. Logical
        1. Ability to use reason, logic, and numbers
        2. Likes to ask questions
        3. Good at math and problem solving
      7. Existential
        1. Learns by seeing the big picture
        2. Seeks connections to real life understanding
      8. Interpersonal
        1. Learns through interactions with others
      9. Intrapersonal
        1. Takes pride in their own learning
        2. Communication is internal with oneself
        3. Prefers to work alone
    *Definitions from: http://surfaquarium.com/MI/overview.htm
  3. After the introduction of the learning types, hold a group discussion and ask students what learning style they believe they are. (Mark their responses on the board-this can be done with a tally chart, bar graph, etc.)
  4. After the discussion, explain to students that there are different surveys/inventories that individuals can take to determine their own learning styles. (These inventories look at the things you like to do, to help you determine how you learn best.)
  5. Hand out the inventory that the students are going to take. Go over the directions with the students.
    1. Directions: Read each statement and put an “X” next to the statements that apply to you. At the end of each section, add up the total number of X’s you made and record that number in the total below each section. When you have completed all 9 sections, let the teacher know and then wait for further instruction.
  6. After giving the directions, do the first section with the students. Read each statement and have students put an X next to the ones that apply to them. After you have read all statements, have the students total up the number of X’s. Go around the room to make sure students have completed the first section correctly and then allow them to finish the rest of the sections on their own.
    1. If there was a student who did not understand the directions, work with that student or students individually.
  7. After students have finished all 9 sections, explain the next part of the worksheet to the students.
    1. Directions: Take the total number you tallied from each section and record it in Part II of the survey. In the first column record the total number from each section and then multiple each section by 10 and record that number in the last column of the table.
  8. After the directions, transfer the data from section 1 to the chart together to make sure students understand the directions. If they do understand, have them finish the chart on their own. If they do not understand, continue to do the remainder of the chart with them.
  9. After the students complete the chart, give them the directions to complete section III, the graph.
    1. Directions: To complete the graph you need to use the numbers you recorded in the last column of the chart. For each section on the graph, you will draw a bar up to the number on the side of the graph that corresponds to the number you have listed for that section on the last column in the chart.
  10. After the directions, transfer the data from section 1, last column in the chart, to section 1 on the graph as a class. After you complete the first section of the graph, allow the students to do section 2 on their own. Once they have finished section 2, check to make sure they did it correctly. If the students did it correctly, allow them to finish the graph on their own. If they did not complete it correctly, work with those students to help them finish the graph.
  11. After the chart and graph are finished, have a group discussion again about which learning style students are. Again, mark their responses on the board and talk about whether or not any of their learning styles are different then what they thought at the beginning of the lesson. (The learning styles are listed in part IV of the survey and correspond to the different sections in the survey).
  12. After the discussion, discuss different strategies that students can use depending on their preferred learning style. You can do this with the following websites: http://www.teachervision.fen.com/intelligence/teaching-methods/2204.html, http://www.csus.edu/indiv/p/pfeiferj/edte305/LearningStyle.html, http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/2098/, or any other resources you may have for this area. (Passing these materials out to the students may be a good idea, so they can use them for future reference.
  13. After the discussion, wrap the lesson up with a review of the learning styles, as well as a review of the objectives and standards to make sure they were met.

*For the younger students taking a different learning style inventory on the computer, follow all the same steps, except when it comes to handing out the paper copy, completing it, and filling out the chart and the graph. Instead, for the little kids open up the survey on the computer, read each question to the student, have them answer each question and mark their answer. After they finished all the questions, have them count up the number of times blue (visual), green (auditory), and violet (kinesthetic) showed up and that will determine what kind of learner they are. After each student completes the survey, return to step 11 in the instructions and have students discuss if their learning styles were different than what they originally thought they were.

Note: The lesson for younger students needs to be very explicit as, this still may be a hard concept for some of them to understand. This is why I picked the survey I did for the younger students because it has some pictures and uses colors to demonstrate which learning style a student is best at.

The results of the inventories were very helpful for my students and myself. The inventories allowed us both to identify the students’ learning styles. I learned that many of my students are visual and kinesthetic learners, but I also have a handful of other students with different learning styles, so I need to make sure that I am meeting all of these needs in my lessons. For my students, this allowed them to recognize their own learning styles, which they then used to find different strategies and methods that will help them succeed in the classroom.

Work Cited
Characteristics and strategies for different learning styles (intelligences). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/p/pfeiferj/edte305/LearningStyle.html

Help me use learning styles strategies to study smarter. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/2098/

McKenzie, W. (1999). Multiple intelligences inventory. Retrieved from http://surfaquarium.com/MI/inventory.htm

Multiple intelligences chart. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/intelligence/teaching-methods/2204.html

[Web log message]. (2012, July 12). Retrieved from http://allaccesspassblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/identifying-student-learning-styles/

Additional Resources/Surveys/Inventories:

  1. http://www.sgsd.k12.wi.us/homework/ferchc/MULTIPLE%20INTELLIGENCES%20SURVEY%20FOR%20STUDENTS.htm
  2. http://www.ldrc.ca/projects/miinventory/mitest.html
  3. http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html
  4. http://homepages.wmich.edu/~buckleye/miinventory.htm
  5. Diigo Page: http://www.diigo.com/user/hbennett89

4. Accessible Technology to Manage Formative Assessment

From: A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age
Formative assessment
Students should have the opportunity to revise and relearn until they achieve the level of mastery they desire in a subject or a skill. Online learning programs or initiatives should strive to transform assessment into a rich, learner-oriented feedback system where students are constantly receiving information aimed at guiding their learning paths. In pedagogical terms, this means emphasizing individualized and timely (formative) rather than end-of-learning (summative) assessment. Similarly, instructors should use such feedback to improve their teaching practices. Assessment is only useful insofar as it helps to foster a culture of success and enjoyment in learning.
Below is the graphic representing the formative assessment process. Graphic and text created by Barbra Donachy

Reflective students operate under a cycle of feedback. They plan their projects based on the expectation of the reviewer. At each step, they assess the creation of their project. After the official reviewer (the instructor) has given feedback, the reflective student decides whether to alter the project and go back through the cycle or head into a new cycle with a new project. By Barbra Donachy
Reflective students operate under a cycle of feedback. They plan their projects based on the expectation of the reviewer. At each step, they assess the creation of their project. After the official reviewer (the instructor) has given feedback, the reflective student decides whether to alter the project and go back through the cycle or head into a new cycle with a new project. By Barbra Donachy

Additional Resources:

5. Accessible Technology to Manage Summative Assessments

Summative assessments can be thought of as the final test: at the end of a chapter, unit, course, term, year. Examples of summative assessments include standards based annual statewide exams and district wide tests. These assessments are a summation of what has been learned "thus far". Often, rubrics or checklists are used for evaluating student learning. Assessments range from products, projects, portfolios to a variety of written response type tests. in a variety of formats: portfolios, projects, essays, short respons, etc. The results of summative assessments are used to identify what a student knows. Often the data from summative assessments is used to improve instruction and for other diagnostic purposes. There are many learning management system tools available to educators. Some management systems are very comprehensive and are used district wide, such as PowerSchool . Other websites offer free apps for everything from writing rubrics to managing performance based assessments. There are many apps for the ipad, of course, but be careful, not all the ipad assessment tools are for education! Below is but a smalll list of the many tools, online or in the "cloud" which teachers may find helpful.
  • Google Web Apps a variety of free resources for teachers to manage summative assessents

  • Glogster enables users to combine videos, music, sounds, pictures, text, data attachments, special effects, animations and links into a digital poster or "glog"
  • Wiggio to help assess group work
  • Edmodo in addition to managing assignments, assessments, and feedback, allows browsing, responses to assignments, photo editor, SchoolTube, and badges for summative assessment
  • Evernote manage summative assessments notes in a variety of formats: text, webpage, voice, image, or "handwritten" note, for example can be used to collect and manage student portfolios.
  • Skitch enables more options for providing formative assessment (feedback)
  • EdTechTeachaer this site list MULTIPLE ways to assess student learning
  • InfuseLearning designed for fast and easy summative (and formative) assessmentsf
  • Socrative student response system
  • Moodle associated with assignments settings

Cherri Anderson
Hallie Bennett
Lori Fredenberg