Monday, August 07, 2006

Differentiated Instruction, Web 2.0 and Learning Differences

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am passionate about removing the obstacles to learning for students with learning differences and knows that I believe that technology helps to remove those barriers. Today I had the privilege to talk with Vicki Davis of coolcatteacher blogging fame. She is a prolific blogger and writer who pointed me to one of her earlier posts that I link here entitled, "How wikis, podcasts and laptops help students with learning disabilities." As she states,
Any teacher can teach a smart kid -- a "smart kid" with regular learning abilities can learn from an inanimate object -- a book. They can teach themselves on the Internet. Teach them and you are knowledgeable about your subject. But it is the child who has challenges -- you are a true teacher when you accommodate and reach that child.

>Technology and Web 2.0 tools allow teachers to accommodate and reach those students with learning differences.
Ten years ago Richard Wanderman wrote an article about how computers change the writing process for students with LDs. I added a number of additional benefits in a document that can be accessed at my wiki.
We do a great disservice to our students with different learning styles when we withhold readily available tools from our instructional technology tool kit. These tools provide the opportunity to differentiate instruction in a number of ways to accommodate all types of learners.
It's all about helping students to access the curriculum and better demonstrate what they know. Vicki gets it right in her blog and with her own experiences. Other teachers can benefit from what she articulates and from the links included in this post. Please feel free to use this information as you prepare for the new school year.


Beth Knittle said...


I could not agree more. I frequently hear that our technology department is just tech support, just supplying a computer for teachers. Then what am I (a teacher) doing in the department? It is our philosophy that we support student learning - that is ALL student learning and we help teachers to do that job. That is why in all our training and support we talk about how the different tools can help different learners. We are making sure our teachers are learning about blogs and wikis and such. We feel we need to give them options so they have options to offer kids. But it is a long road - many are faced with to much to do, to little time, and the pressure of imporved test scores. Many see the possiblities but are not feeling free enough to experiment and try something new. I just take it one teacher at a time. Change never comes quickly in schools.

Beth Lloyd said...

Great add on..already visited and will use the documents when school starts

Madalaine Pugliese said...

Karen, thanks for this wonderful insight! I never thought about the Internet as a two way street. Harvesting and finding information is certainly the traditional way to use the Internet. In considering your perspective, it makes me realize how dynamic it is to lead students toward making contributions to the collective resources and intelligence in Cyberspace.

Thanks you,