Section Four: Differentiating Instruction through Technology

Introduction
In modern society, the increase of technology has led to the integration of technology into
the classroom to create a more rewarding influence on learning and teaching. The traditional
teaching method included the idea of teachers being the center of teaching but with the increase
of technology, it has allowed students to actively learn and play a part in their own learning
journey. “Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a
variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels
of difficulty based on the ability of each student” (Weselby, 2016, para. 3). The new idea of
student-centered approach permits students to create their own goals and enables them to build
their own knowledge and think critically. Ultimately, this idea of differentiated instruction
enables students to visualize the learning material in multiple perspectives and participate in their
own individual learning process. The teacher’s role has shifted from being the center of teaching
to facilitating and supporting student’s through their learning process. Differentiated instruction
can be more effective and reach to a wider variety of uniqueness for a larger diversity of students
through the use of interactive websites, PowerPoints that have incorporated video links and
examples, and apps that can be used on tablets, all of which can be linked to the International
Society for Technology in Education. Like every aspect of technology, there are also strengths
and weaknesses that accompany the idea of using technology to different instruction.

Technology to Differentiate Instruction
Name of Technology Tool: Interactive Websites

One of the many benefits to using differentiated instruction in the classroom is the ability
to focus on each student, connect with each student and provide numerous opportunities to
understand the material. Interactive websites are a great learning aid that is necessary to
providing many paths for providing student’s a centered learning environment. Since lessons are
created and developed to focus on students, it is important that teachers provide resources and
tools that have many different skills and abilities. “Before making the decision to use a particular
technology for a particular lesson, teachers should first make decisions about the learning goals,
activities, and assessments that will shape the learning experience” (Hobgood, 2011, para. 12).
Online games and interactive websites are great tools to utilize that can be played in small groups
or even independently. There are some games that are created for average intelligence students
but there are other interactive games that are specifically designed to meet the needs of each and
every individual student. These websites include many puzzles and games that are available for
different student’s interests, as well as, increasing levels that students can accomplish as they
master skills. For example, these games usually focus on the strategies that should be mastered to
find an answer rather than just focusing on finding the answer alone. Virtual games and puzzles
are real-time assessments that assist the teacher in determining where exactly the student is
struggling and allows the teachers to see the student is progressing.
ISTE Standards
Interactive websites can be connected to the International Society for Technology in
Education standards and more specifically the second student standard which briefly states
communication and collaboration. More specifically, “students use digital media and
environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support
individual learning and contribute to the learning of others” (International Society for

Technology in Education, 2016, p. 1). Interactive games allow students to work alone or even in
small groups where the goal or main objective is shared. This essentially teaches the student to
collaborate with others to accomplish skills and advance in levels or even communicate and
collaborative with themselves to create higher goals to achieve when playing games and master
levels so they can advance. Another idea that links this specific technology tool to the technology
standards is the idea of healthy competition against one another and even against the student
themselves. “Friendly competition helps keep students challenged” (Mueller, 2014, para. 14).
Education is definitely not a one size fits all, which is why it is beneficial to bounce ideas off
each other based off the various learning styles of every student.
Name of Technology Tool: PowerPoints
Students in today’s generation are much more tech-savvy than students use to be before
the development and integration of technology into the classroom skyrocketed. PowerPoints can
be planed just like a regular lesson with the beginning, middle, and end components. It
supplements goals and skills that the teacher can determine before the lesson and instruction. The
benefits of PowerPoints for differentiated lessons is that they present the information in a student
and user friendly way. For PowerPoints to work effectively, teachers but be prepared and
student’s must participate and practice to ensure the goals and skills are met. Special edits can be
added to help reach out to a variety of students. For example, appropriately large text sizes,
avoiding too much text, minimize contrast, transitions and animations could be added but avoid
using too many to distract students, keep templets basic to prevent overwhelming students, use
graphics, charts, and tables to enhance the message. When creating a PowerPoint, through the
integration of subheadings and fonts, the presentation is visually appealing and reaches out best
to students that learn best visual. Auditory narrating and even added sound, reaches out,

encourages, and motivates students that learn best through the use of the sense of hearing. “The
PowerPoint software itself includes built-in functionality to record your audio commentary. In
this fashion, instructors can literally deliver their entire lecture electronically…” (Smith,
2016, para. 9). PowerPoints have the ability to be more than a presentation while being used for
different reasons and having the ability to have additional affects. A few examples for this
include the use of clickers, which improves student learning by engaging them in the learning
process. This allows the teacher to gather individual response or anonymous feedback. Clickers
are beneficial when giving quick quizzes to check student understanding, take attendance, and
even gather class participation. PowerPoints with the use of clickers are great tools to use for
friendly completion through the interactive games which can promote a desired classroom
debate. Another method of use of the PowerPoint is the ability to use the slides as worksheets. If
teachers are limited to the amount that they can print, a PowerPoint can substitute for a
worksheet by providing the students with examples that show the step-by-step solution and to
show process. A great example, is that one slide shows how to solve a problem and the next
slide, a problem is stated that requires the students to solve it on their own paper, rather than a
worksheet.
ISTE Standards
Every individual that is involved with the student, plays a key role in the student’s
educational journey and nobody has to do it alone. ISTE standards were created to work
collaboratively with students, leaders, and teachers to support students with clear guidelines that
accompany the idea of the digital age. PowerPoint presentations can be aligned with these
standards to demonstrate the knowledge that students need to live effectively and productively.

“It’s the way that instructors use PowerPoint that can encourage student learning by strategically
employing it to engage students in the learning process, incorporating classroom assessment
techniques and using methods geared toward reaching multiple learning styles” (University of
Oregon, 2016, para. 1). The standard that connects most with the development of a presentation
is the second teacher standard which facilitates and inspires student learning and creativity. In
more detail, “teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and
technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in
both face-to-face and virtual environment” (International Society for Technology in Education,
2016, p. 1). Essentially, PowerPoints are created with intended goals that were created by the
teacher using their professional and advanced knowledge that the teacher obtains. The teacher
uses their already existing understanding of the topics and the developed goals to create an
interactive and effective PowerPoint that reaches out to each and every student in the classroom
given their unique and different learning styles. PowerPoints are a great way to design a learning
experience that incorporates digital tools to promote student learning.
Name of Technology Tool: Apps on Mobile Devices
There is a wide diversity of students in the general education classroom and it is
importance that all the needs of each student are met. Using technology that engages students,
there are many opportunities for teachers to teach because teachers can’t teach everyone the
same material exactly the same way due to student differences. Mobile applications are similar to
the idea of interactive websites but they are more accessible. For example, instead of being
limited to a desktop, these applications can be accessed from iPads and phones to occupy
children. There are also educational apps that help students communicate more effectively if that
is the area that they struggle in. These apps are interactive, are highly visually appealing, and

contain auditory affects that stimulates the child’s brain. Mobile apps can be used for
differentiating instruction because there are numerous choices for apps that help students
accomplish a variety of skills. Each app also contains numerous levels of difficulty that the
students can work towards as they accomplish the specific goal and master the skills that are
asked of them. Interactive mobile apps are most commonly viewed in the special education
environment helping students communicate more effectively and participate more in the general
curriculum through access to various games and puzzles. For example, there are games that
address the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, various math process, and many other skill sets.
ISTE Standards
Every individual that is part of the student’s educational support team, the primary goal is
to prepare them for the future. There any many resources and standards that are created to help
students learn effectively given everyone’s differences. Mobile apps are most effectively
connected to the fourth standard that relates to critical thinking, problem solving, and decision
making. In more detail, “students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research,
manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools
and resources” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2016, p. 1). Mobile apps
encourage students to use more in depth thinking and exercise thinking strategies that are
generally not used. “A research study, conducted in Auburn, Maine showed that Kindergartner
students using iPads scored much higher on literacy tests than students that didn’t use the device”
(Wainwwright, 2010, para. 4). They are asked to learn new material and master skills that most
commonly involved critical thinking skills and making informed decisions using technology
tools and resources based off knowledge that they have obtained.
Pros and Cons

Differentiated instruction is the understanding that teaching students in a personalized
way will benefit them and their successful educational journey. Just as everything does,
differentiated instruction has advantages and disadvantages. A few advantages include the idea
that kids get to learn information and important content material in way that makes
comprehension and retention easier. Each student is given the opportunity to find the best way to
learn that is beneficial for them. Differentiated instruction eliminates teaching routines and
patterns that become burdensome. If a teacher teaches the same way for years, it is difficult to
create a difference in the classroom with different students each year and develop a strong
passion for teaching. Since every child is unique and different, differentiated instruction allows
teachers to develop a creative approach to the curriculum that is being taught. On the other hand,
differentiated instruction also has disadvantages such as creating a second job for the teacher.
Given that every student is different, if there are a large number of students that struggle greatly
in academics and need differentiated instruction. Each individual will need to be assessed and
evaluated individually to determine what learning style will work for them and what resources
will benefit them. “Working with each individual according to his learning style means more
work for the teacher, more time taken for each lesson and each child” (Asia-Pacific Economic
Blog, 2015, para. 7). In addition, some students can prevent the class from moving forward.
Sometimes with some students, their differences can be so profound that it forces the teacher to
often stop instruction and activities until that particular students gains similar understanding as
the other students. Finally, there is no way to create a schedule to follow. Since many students
have different needs and different areas of struggle, there is no way to determine how long it will
take the class to learn a particular topic. The only schedule that is in place, is the time that school

starts and ends.
Concluding Paragraph
In conclusion, recently there has been an increase of technology development which has
led to the increase of technology in the classroom environment. Before the introduction of
technology, teachers were the center of the classroom and all instruction was centered around the
teacher. With the introduction and integration of technology into the classroom, students are able
to take control and lead their own educational journey. They are encouraged to be active in the
classroom and their own educational goals and skill sets. Initially, the idea of differentiated
instruction enables each and every student to visualize the content material in multiple
perspectives to benefit their own learning success. Differentiated instruction is more effective
and there are more opportunities when technology is used to assist this idea. A wider variability
of distinctiveness for students can be seen through the use of interactive websites, PowerPoints,
and mobile apps, all of which are connected to International Society in Education. Given that
technology is not fully reliable, there are also advantages and disadvantages that accompany
using technology for differentiated instruction. With a strong support team and proper instruction
that is related to the success of each individual, students are sure to succeed and accomplish
goals and master skill sets.

References
Asia-Pacific Economic Blog. (2015, February 27). Pros and Cons of Differentiated Instruction.
Retrieved June 04, 2016, from http://apecsec.org
Hobgood, B. (2011, March 7). 7 Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with
technology. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.learnnc.org
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE Standards for Students.
Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.iste.org
Mueller, K. (2014, June 10). Mixing it Up with Mangahigh: Using Games to Differentiate
Instruction. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org
Smith, K. L. (2016). Effective Use of PowerPoint. Retrieved June 04, 2016, from
http://fctl.ucf.edu
University of Oregon. (2016, May 26). Unleashing the Power of PowerPoint. Retrieved June 04,
2016, from http://tep.uoregon.edu
Wainwright, A. (2010). 8 Studies Show iPads in the Classroom Improve Education. Retrieved
June 04, 2016, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com
Weselby, C. (2016, January 6). What is Differentiated Instruction? Examples of How to
Differentiate Instruction in the Classroom. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from
http://education.cu-portland.edu