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Online Tools for Differentiated Instruction

By Jim Wheelin Subscribe to RSS | February 23rd 2012 | Views:

Differentiated instruction is a teaching model based around the idea of providing every student with an optimal learning environment. By tracking and assessing progress throughout the school year, teachers can then adjust both curriculum and teaching methods to better serve the personal needs of the kids in their classrooms. Online tools such as math games can help in this undertaking, as a virtual environment can provide detailed real-time feedback on the progress of every child who uses it.

Addressing Variables for Academic Success

Differentiated instruction addresses the fact that every child comes to the classroom with different educational needs. While some children thrive through reading textbooks and listening to lectures, others require a more hands-on, visual approach to learning. Despite this, today’s teachers are expected to impart a specific subset of knowledge to children at each grade level. This mix of a common curriculum and variable learning styles can put a teacher in a difficult position. In order to provide the proper individualized educational environment, it’s necessary to know where each student’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Progress monitoring is an essential part of this process. However, traditional monitoring methods such as benchmark testing can take a lot of time away from instruction, which is frustrating for teachers and can have a negative effect on student progress.

Incorporating Online Tools

The use of technology in the classroom isn’t a new thing. As the years go by, more and more schools are beginning to incorporate technological aspects into everyday instruction. This is a particularly valuable trend when it comes to differentiated instruction. Through the use of an online environment that includes games, virtual manipulatives and personalized progress summaries, teachers and administrators can more easily track how students are doing at any grade level. And since online games are hosted on a remote server rather than individual computers around the school, progress reports can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, making it easier for teachers to share information and better adapt their classroom environments to provide an optimal educational experience.

Implementing an Adaptive Environment in the Classroom

Since the current classroom model isn’t conducive to intense, individualized instruction for every student, teachers who wish to implement a differentiated instruction model must mix group instruction with individual attention to create the proper learning environment. Organization and planning are key to this, which is where online learning tools come in handy. Getting comprehensive feedback about students’ progress at the push of a button or click of a mouse saves time and gives teachers the information that they need to adapt the current curriculum to best serve their particular class. Adaptive online educational tools also provide students with an alternative method of learning, so teachers can offer those with different learning styles an easier environment in which to grasp and master new concepts.

Using differentiated instruction in the classroom helps to ensure that each student receives the amount and type of attention that they need to succeed academically. Adding online games to everyday instruction provides students with an interactive learning environment that moves at their own pace while tracking progress in a way that teachers can use to better serve each child.

Jim Wheelin - About Author:
Jim Wheelin writes about many different educational topics for parents and teachers. Recently, he has found special interest in software that offers a differentiated instruction model. Jim strongly recommends others to try a web-based learning platform, which also offers virtual manipulatives and progress reports at

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