Technology and Differentiated Instruction

A Hands-On & Differentiated, Bring-Your-Own-Device Workshop
San Antonio Convention Center, Room 007AB, San Antonio, TX
Tuesday, June 25, 2012, 5:15 to 8:15 PM

Please Note: This page is still being edited and is subject to changes until the start of the workshop...

Workshop Goals

1. Consider the Combined Impact of Technology and Differentiated Instruction
2. Differentiated Hands-on Planning & Development of Tech-Infused DI Strategies

Getting Started

  • Double-check that your laptop is ready and meets the workshop prerequisites:
    • A wireless-ready laptop with Internet browser is required. It is best to test your wireless connection at the convention center before the session. The Firefox or Safari browser is highly recommended for both Windows or Mac OS. Be sure to pre-install to avoid delays during the session. Available for free at __http://www.mozilla.com__ or __
    • Unrestricted access to Internet web 2.0 tools and other sites that might normally be blocked for student use but should be accessible to teachers preparing lessons, units, and projects. Participant's laptops should be unrestricted so you can join a wireless network and download files and other resources from the Internet and to save files locally for later retrieval. Any overly-restrictive school or district security measures may interfere with successful participation in the workshop. See your IT department for assistance prior to the conference to be sure your laptop will be fully functional.
  • Preview the Tech4DI Wiki
  • Complete the Pre-Workshop Survey (embedded below); Review the Results (links below the survey)
    • You may introduce yourself briefly in the Discussion area above (click the speech bubbles icon next to the Edit button at the top of the page). If you want a free Wikispaces account, Click here. Click the "Sign up and start your wiki" button. But you do NOT need to actually create a new Wiki when you get your account (you can do that at any later time) -- just click the NO button under "Make a Wiki?"
    • You do NOT need to become a member of the Tech4DI wiki to participate in the workshop, but you are welcome to do so -- just be sure to mention that you are a workshop participant.

Initial Participant Survey

Scroll through the survey within the embedded box, then hit Submit at the end.

Click Here for survey results analysis.
Click Here to see the spreadsheet of survey results.

Differentiating Hands On Workshop Activities

It is customary to provide younger students with a limited range of options rather than give them broad, open-ended choices. On the other hand, it is important to give increasing choice and autonomy to older students so they gain confidence in their ability to take responsibility for their own learning and they become independent, life-long learners. The locus of control, therefore, can and should shift to students even while providing differentiated learning opportunities.

The hands-on activities for this workshop are intended as a suggested starting point. As adult, educational professionals, you are encouraged to adapt these to meet your individual needs. You may apply your work to preparing activities for students or colleagues depending on your current role (classroom teacher, technology coach or supervisor, or administrator). You should definitely focus on content that you do and will use in your practice. To the extent possible, work with technology applications and web tools that are readily available in your school or district regardless of the ones recommended by the workshop facilitator.

As we progress from activity to activity, feel free to linger on one if you wish even if you stick with developing just one strategy throughout the entire workshop. For those of you that are more experienced with Differentiated Instruction, do not hesitate to look ahead to workshop activities and strategies that you may find more productive for your own situation. You will be sharing your work periodically with other workshop participants, but it is definitely OK to be working on something different.

Think of this as a buffet or family style dinner rather than a formal, multi-course sit-down meal. Mangia!

Build Your Own Survey

Create a survey to gather information about your students' interests, their prior knowledge (readiness), or their learning preferences (your choice, but just focus on one of these at a time).

I recommend using Google Form, but you may use any online survey tool. If you are working on a tablet, you will not be able to create a Google Form directly. However, you can write the questions you plan to use and include possible responses or pick lists. The content of your survey is what is important at this point. The specifics of getting it online will depend on the tool you use.

Suggested Resources:

Differentiate for Interests or by Product

Create a Think Dots activity and differentiate for Interests or by Product. Use the template provided:
This is also available as a public Google doc:

Leverage Technology
Providing a menu of technology tools and applications based on your students' interests gives them choice and develops their sense of responsibility for their own learning by controlling aspects of the educational context. Allowing students to demonstrate their learning by creating products involving technology is engaging and provides opportunities for students to select a wide variety of media. Start by providing a menu of choices for students, but, as they gain experience in making choices and taking greater responsibility for their learning, allow them to suggest alternatives for approval to broaden their options.

Suggested Resources:
  • Thinkfinity
  • Discovery Learning
  • etc...

Differentiate for Learning Style by Process

Create a Tic Tac Toe activity and differentiate for Learning Style and by Process. Use the template provided:

This is also available as a public Google doc:

Leverage Technology
Use technology tools and applications to provide learning options that tap the various multiple intelligences. There are so many ways for students to collaborate, create, and publish today through technology! Alternately, use online resources to tap into various modalities or personality traits or grouping constellations. Don't forget to mix and match -- not all options should necessarily be online or technology intense. Think about variations in setting and classroom environment as well as degree of ambient visual or auditory stimulation. Seek alternatives that you would not necessarily choose for yourself. Your comfort zone may be someone else's pit of perplexity.

Suggested Resources:
  • Multiple Intelligences links
  • etc...

Differentiate for Readiness and Content

Create a Tiered Lesson and differentiate for Readiness and by Content.
Use the template provided:

This is also available as a public Google doc

Leverage Technology
In addition to providing alternatives based on Bloom's Taxonomy (see links), consider using tech tools and applications to accommodate reading levels; translation software, voice commands, and spoken text to support ELL students; video content to flip instruction and allow for more classroom support; online lessons and extensive resources to aid in compacting the curriculum for advanced learners; wide-ranging tutorials to help scaffold learners needing to catch up with background knowledge; and a host of other online resources to help meet student needs.

Suggested Resources:
  • Bloom's Taxonomy links
  • etc...

Amp It Up

Begin thinking about how you could combine strategies and apply them in a Learning Contract, RAFTT Strategy, or a Project/Challenge Based Learning Unit.

This is also available as a public Google doc:

This is also available as a public Google doc:

Leverage Technology
Learning Contracts, the RAFT strategy, and PBL can all be done without technology, but not with anywhere near the same degree of engagement, potential for collaboration near and far, scope of accessible resources, or extent of creativity and publication opportunity. At the same time, the use of digital tools today prepares students for a future we can barely imagine. Harness the technology so students can fully communicate, connect, collaborate, and create.

Suggested Resources:

Workshop Evaluation

There are three ways for attendees to fill out session evaluations:
  • Mobile App—if you have downloaded the conference mobile app to your iOS or Android device, you can use the speaker or session filter to find your specific session (search for 444HEO) and submit your evaluation via the Surveys tab.
  • Mobile Website—from any smartphone device you can access the conference mobile website at, use the speaker or session filter to find your specific session (search for 444HEO), and submit your evaluation via the session evaluation link.
  • Conference Website—from any internet enabled device you can access this session detail page here --, and submit your evaluation via the “Evaluate This Session” link.