Posted by: swuharrison | August 4, 2011

Student Engaged Learning

Title of Article: “Differentiated Instruction: Getting Personal with Technology”

Author:  Grace Rubenstein

Link:  http://www.edutopia.org/stw-differentiated-instruction-technology-elementary

Summary:  At Forest Lake Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina there are many different learning tools being used at once.  This school incorporates technology into the classroom to challenge and help students reach their highest potential.  The students are engaged in learning by having freedom of choice. Some may be making a slide show, making comic strips, or making videos.  The teachers are able
to work with the students on a more one-on-one basis.  The teachers meet the need of the students by finding an activity to fill in the gap in the students’ knowledge.  The students are still learning the subject matter but expressing how they know it in different ways.  The teacher has become a facilitator.  Although the test scores for Forest Lake are below the district average, the test scores for individual students are slightly above the national norm.  The principal, Kappy Cannon, knows things are working because of what she has seen in the classroom and the individual assessments. Every child is challenged at their own level. The teachers use computer programs to assess a child and the computer checks the answers. This gives the teacher time to plan and grade other complex projects. The computer program can also identify a specific weakness of a child which helps the teacher design a lesson according to the needs of the individual student. The teachers at Forest Lake Elementary School work together to help make this kind of instruction a success.

New or Interesting Concept:  Most of the assessing tools were new concepts to me.  I use centers in my classroom but using so many technology centers is not something I am familiar with.  I liked the Comic Life software where the child was able to make a cartoon for his assessment.  Instead of teaching out of a textbook to the norm, the teacher is able to meet the individual needs of the student. Computer
programs are used to assess students and help the teacher know what weakness a child has in specific skill.

My Response:  This article was very interesting to me.  I am not familiar with many technological tools or program that can be used in a classroom.  I can see where each child would benefit from being in a classroom like the ones at Forest Lake Elementary School.  The students are completely engaged in what they are learning. I think this would be hard for the teachers, but according to the article they plan together and help each other through it. I would love to visit this school and see how it works first hand.

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