An Updated Digital Differentiation Model

This is part of a Digital Differentiation model, my way i of weaving a web of flexible tools together for teaching and learning. To keep the model relevant, frequent updates are required, as new tools and trends emerge. 

To access the most current resources, please click on the tab at the top of this blog:

Digital Differentiation – Current 




Updating 


Ten months ago I published a Digital Differentiation model on this blog. I’ve been using the model to guide the work I do each day and I’ve been sharing it via webinars and hands-on training sessions.

Of course, ten months is a long time in the world of edtech, and I’ve added some new tools and resources to my personal teaching toolkit, so I decided it was time to update the model and tweak it just a bit. The original article and interactive graphic can still be found on this blog. Here is the new post:

Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate learning experiences that address the diverse learning needs of all students and help them develop 21st Century Skills, an idea supported by the Common Core. 


At it’s most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences fueled by Essential Questions offering flexible learning paths, it can be the ticket to success. Here is a closer look at three components of effectively using technology as a tool for digital differentiation.


The goal is to design student-driven learning experiences that are fueled by standards-based Essential Questions and facilitated by digital tools to provide students with flexible learning paths.


3 Components:


Essential Questions

Student-driven learning experiences should be driven by standards-based  Essential Questions.  These questions should be open-ended to allow for flexible learning paths. Devise question by looking at the standards that determine what we teach.  
Click on the tiny circles in the graphic for more information.

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Flexible Learning Paths

Use digital tools to provide students with flexible learning paths to meet their unique learning styles.


Teacher as Facilitator

The role of the teacher shifts to facilitate student-driven learning experiences. This new role allows teachers to maximize instructional time because the classroom structure provides opportunities for frequent interaction with individual students for assessment, modification, reteaching and enrichment.

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Simplify and Summarize Digital Text

In nearly every classroom there are a number of students who do not have the reading level needed to comprehend written content-based material. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is providing text for struggling readers. Technology is a tool that can help. Here are some tools for providing students with the support they need to succeed. Many thanks to Sheri Lenzo, assistive technology expert, for teaching me all of this and much more.

 Natural Reader
This free software needs to be installed on your PC. After that, just  highlight the text you want read aloud and click on Control + F9. Voila!

demo
readability

Readability Bookmarklet
Install a handy bookmarklet and watch this tool scrub web pages of distractions by removing the ads and
creating a more readable body of text.

demo
text compactor

Text Compactor
A free online tool that is extremely user-friendly. Just copy and paste some digital text into the box, use the slider to determine the percentage of text you want to end up with, and view the summary

demo
text to speech

Text to Speech for Mac
Macintosh computers have the text to speech feature built in, but it needs to be activated in System Preferences. Watch the tutorial on this wiki.

demo
twurdy

Twurdy
A search engine that yields color-coded results by readability in order to provide users with text written at appropriate levels. View more simple search engine tools on my wiki.

demo
wikipedia simple english

Wikipedia Simple English
One of the languages
supported by Wikipedia is “Simple English”. Choose it to find information written using simpler words and simple sentences, which lowers the readability level.

demo
jogtheweb

Hands-On Overview on JogTheWeb
Try my Jog: Tools for Summarizing and Simplifying Text

demo

Cool Tools for Teaching Vocabulary


I spent the first part of my summer working with teachers to help them learn to use technology as a tool for differentiating reading instruction to help all learners succeed. During that time we experimented with many different tools for teaching vocabulary. Here is a glance at the list of tools the course participants found to be user-friendly and useful for students and teachers.

Lexipedia
A very nice multi-lingual visual dictionary that creates a word web and defines words based on parts of speech. Use the toolbar bookmarklet for convenience.

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Lingro
An amazing tool that turns all the words in any website or digital text into a clickable dictionary and translates text into 12 different languages.

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Shahi
A visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more.

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Snappy Words
An online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and draw connections to associated words. 

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Visuwords
Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts.

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The Visual Dictionary
This tool uses photographs of words in the real world to visually explore them.

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Vocabulary.co
A very popular site for vocabulary games.

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VocabGrabber
Copy and paste text into the box and this tool generates a word cloud to identify the key vocabulary. Sort words by content area.

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Wordsift
Place text into a box and then press sift to create a word cloud in which most frequently used words appear larger in size.

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Wordia
A tool that uses video to make personal connections for users. The school account keeps it safe for students and allows students to create their own video definitions and schools to build their own  dictionaries.

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Wordle
Use this word cloud generator to identify key vocabulary in digital text. Try copying and pasting more than one related article into Wordle to get the big picture.

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WordStash
Teachers can sign up for a free account and create word lists to support written text. With a click of a button, students can access dictionary information and create flash cards for review.

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info_onweb.jpgTag Galaxy
This tool creates a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click again and watch the globe populate with images from Flicker. This is a must see.




Lingro – Turn digital text into a clickable dictionary

Lingro is an amazing online tool that turns any website or digital text file into an interactive dictionary where users can click on a word to view it’s definition and hear it’s pronunciation. Support by 12 languages, Lingro is also a very useful tool for translating text.

Lingro is easy to use. Just copy and paste any web address into Lingro’s web browser and click on a word, or use the file viewer to upload a document and translate it in the same way. One of the most impressive features of Lingro is that it stores and remembers all the words you click on and allows you to easily create and store words lists. Then, with the click of a button, Lingro turns your word lists into an online flash card game.

This tool does not require a login to use the most basic features so it can be a handy tool for students without an email address, but teachers should create a free account to take advantage of additional features, such as storage, history and word lists.

.Try Lingro for yourself