What's the DIF?

by MrMurrayRTMS
Last updated 11 years ago

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What's the DIF?

Differentiation ExamplesHow did we differentiate before the arrival of technologies in our classrooms? How did we ever offer students choices about what they did to demonstrate learning? How did we ever instruct them in different ways, ways suited to their unique learning needs and styles? We did, but it was more challenging. Technology affords more choices about teaching, for the teacher, and for the learning, for the learner.Here's one example of how differentiation was used in my classroom. In a unit on media and critical literacy, students developed the skills of identifying "isms" and how to point out how they are used in the media. Students explored an interactive simulation game on the website media-awareness.ca and then were given the choice of groupings, size of groups, and the response to their new understanding of bias, stereotyping, prejudice, propoganda, racism, sexism and other forms of "isms" in the media. They were given the choice of creating a Voicethread dialogue about their topic, or writing a script for a podcast which they recorded and mixed. They could also choose to create an old fashioned poster.Differentiation allowed for choice in learning, and in the final product. And it worked!

Rod's Flyer or What's the DIF?

The Rodcast: My former Job

Text: My Past & Present Jobs

Photo: Latté in Oz

Text: What's the DIF?

My Teaching BackgroundI attended the University of Toronto graduating in 1980 and immediately began a Cooperative Program in Outdoor and Experiential Education at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, graduating in 1981 with a Bachleor of Education. At the time , there were few teaching positions in Ontario so I headed west and took a job in a small town in central west Saskatchewan, halfway between Edmonton, Alberta and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The prairies are immense and beautiful and wild, and I stayed three years teaching Physical and Health Education and Grades 7-9 Science and Grades 11-12 Biology. Returning to Ontario, I was a supply teacher, or subsitute, for a few years in the school district where I had gone to school. Eventually, I took a position in a high school in east Toronto teaching Grade 10 Physical Education and Geography. But the job was temporary and I was unemplyed again. In 1987, I interviewed for a Middle School position in a growing school district north and west of Toronto. I have moved around this school district for the last 23 years, mostly teaching at middle schools at the grade 7 level, always teaching Science and sometimes Language Arts. As technology slowly began to take a foothold in schools, I was always an early adopter, and sat on Computer committees, and planning groups to push for more technology in schools. If there was a new technology, I pushed for it; if there was a new online project, I tried it,; if there was an opportunity for Professional Development related to technology, I grabbed it. For example, I always linked my class up with ePals each year so they would have online penpals somewhere in another country. My class even hosted the Prime Minister of Canada when he participated in an ePals sponsored event! These experiences allowed me to network with other teachers and technology leaders in the district. In 2009 I took an acting position as Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, visiting teachers around the District and helping them to use technology more effectively. The video I shot, faetured above, for the Wilkes IM course "Digital Storytelling" highlights a typical day in that position. Presently, I teach in the Integrated Technology or Computer lab in my school. I try to help students develop skills that are needed to complete technology related work they are doing in their clases and I work with their teachers to better integrate the curriculum.


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