Differentiating by Offering Choices
The majority of classrooms contain students who range widely in terms of their academic prowess. Even in a class for gifted and talented students like the one I teach, there is a wide range of abilities among the students. Differentiation of instruction is an essential strategy for educators to employ in their efforts to cater to the one-of-a-kind requirements of each individual student. This strategy involves providing more chances for pupils to develop to their fullest potential, and it is advantageous for all pupils.
Because we live in a digital era, we are able to provide all of our students, regardless of the academic label they fall under, with technological means to enhance their learning. Because each student is unique, they must be given a wide range of options to demonstrate their mastery of the material in a manner that is tailored to their specific personality and interests.
Providing students with multiple options for how to complete an assignment is one strategy that can be used to differentiate learning experiences within a curriculum. Students learn in a variety of ways, and because of this, we should allow them to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways. When I give my students a choice as to how they will finish a project, they are required to meet certain criteria, but I allow them the freedom to choose an outlet that they will find the most enjoyable. Some examples of this include making a presentation using Google Slides, a trifold board, or a pamphlet. Students are better able to take ownership of their learning and produce work that resonates with them personally when they are given the opportunity to choose among several options. They work on something that they are already skilled at creating, or they experiment with something that they would like to become more skilled at.
E-portfolios are an excellent way to ensure differentiation because they are technology-based assessment tools that collect a student’s authentic work samples and provide a quick way for a teacher to assess a student’s growth and skills. An excellent way to ensure differentiation is to have each student create their own e-portfolio. The e-portfolio serves as a kind of window into a student’s education; however, the student is the one who decides what should be included in the portfolio.
The student’s e-portfolio can also follow them from one grade level to the next. In addition, once the time has been invested in creating one, the process of adding content will become simpler and faster as the student continues to add to it in later grades. Students are able to demonstrate their personal development as a result of their academic experiences by using e-portfolios because they provide a platform for students to demonstrate authentic learning.
DIFFERENTIATING BY GIVING CHOICES
The most effective method for differentiating instruction is to provide students with multiple options for demonstrating their knowledge of the material. Every student acquires knowledge in their own unique fashion, and it is essential for them to be able to demonstrate their individual capabilities and areas of interest. It should be more about the process than the product when it comes to assessing someone, as long as they can show that they have a certain skill.
It may appear as though providing students with choices will result in additional work for the teacher, and in some cases it will, but this extra effort is well worth it because it encourages more students to take greater responsibility for their own learning.
A significant increase in student engagement can be achieved by including a technological component in a given assignment. This is especially true if students have not previously been provided with opportunities of this kind. The use of a novel application like Flipgrid provides students with practise in technological skills while also adding an element of fun to the learning experience.
Try using choice boards instead of technology, which gives students many different options for how the material can be presented to them. Technology is not the only way to provide choice. Students could, for instance, perform a song about the stages of the water cycle, or they could create a comic book that outlines those stages. These kinds of choices can be entertaining for the students, and they can reveal to the teachers hidden talents that the students possess that the teachers otherwise wouldn’t see.
DIFFERENTIATING WITH PORTFOLIOS
Few applications provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning; however, encouraging students to do so is important in getting them to consider how they learn best and to take an active role in their own learning. Even though quick assessment applications like Flipgrid and Kahoot make it possible for students to reflect on their work, the e-portfolio, which highlights the unique characteristics of each student, is the superior option.
Students are able to reflect on their own learning while also putting their own stamp on their assignments when using e-portfolios. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning as well as the process that they followed in order to create their final product, all while personalising it to reflect their preferences and passions.
It’s possible that a teacher will require certain components to be included, such as the student’s name, the class section they are in, pictures of their hobbies, or content-related materials; however, what a teacher really wants to see is the ways in which students make the e-portfolio their own. Students have the ability to express their unique ways of thinking through the use of a tool called an e-portfolio, which is a digital portfolio.
E-portfolios give instructors the opportunity to evaluate students on more than just their knowledge of the material covered in a given class. Students have the ability to exercise ownership over what they have learned, choose how they will present the material, and take control of their own educational experience.
Students are more likely to become self-motivated learners if they are given the opportunity to have their voices heard, which is made possible by differentiating instruction. And this, in turn, can help increase both their learning growth as well as their self-awareness of that growth. [Citation needed]