Using Technology to Differentiate for Each Student in the Classroom
I have a 7th grade student, in my science classroom, who struggles. He has to retake his exit slips to better understand content. Unfortunately, even after remediation, he still does not get to feel successful. A persistent issue in my classroom, and among many educators, is the small percentage (10-15%) of students that continue to not master content, even after remediation. What’s going wrong for those students? I feel students struggle, due to not having the resiliency to stick with it after failure. Time management also makes it difficult to provide the 1 on 1 attention some students need. Furthermore, it was clear the traditional small group method was not working for this subset of kids in my classroom. I decided to use the students’ likes and interests to my advantage and incorporate technology into our reteaching days.
Using Google Forms has provided a way for me to meet the needs of all my students in the classroom, during remediation for their exit slips. Students needing additional practice, go to the Google Form, watch a reteaching Youtube video, made by their teacher, do some practice problems and then take their retest exit slip. If the students struggle with the practice problems, the Google Form will redirect them to a mini lesson, specifically focusing on that particular practice question. Once students are successful in their practice, they will retake their exit slip. The Google Form, allows for each student to work at their own pace, as well as allowing multiple learning targets to be retested at the same time. The students who mastered the content the first time will work on an enrichment activity. See example here
“Knowing that I have the opportunity to retest over each learning target, if I don't master it the first time, makes me feel confident. "
After implementation of the system, data was taken to determine the success of the project. Data was collected by means of a student survey and formative assessments (exit slips). The data revealed a significant difference in the number of students who passed the exit slips after the remediation, using the Google Forms, versus the traditional method. Reflecting on the student voice survey , disclosed that students loved using technology during remediation. It was such a gratifying moment when I read what that particular student had put on his student voice survey. He stated, “Knowing that I have the opportunity to retest over each learning target, if I don't master it the first time, makes me feel confident. I say this because I’m able to improve my knowledge of the topic, through the reteaching. ” Seeing the use of technology in my classroom had improved the struggling student, and the majority of other students, academic performance, was validating. But, knowing the process had instilled confidence in a student who, at one point seemed unreachable, was staggering.
Technology integration at its highest quality, presents technology use as redefinition of a task, not as a substitution. Living in a technology driven world makes it crucial for educators to use technology to challenge students, help them problem solve and learn content on a deeper conceptual level. My goal as a 21st century educator is to integrate technology into my classroom, to make learning engaging and real world, require students to gain ownership of their learning and prepare them for their future endeavors. Regardless of their career choice, students will inevitable be utilizing technology in their future. My project has allowed me to use Google Forms and teacher made videos to differentiate for each student in my classroom concurrently.
Although my project is a working product, I have found this system to be successful for my students. My teaching partner and I are working on creating enrichment activities for the students who initially master the content. It is key to implement extension activities that are engaging, in order to motivate students to pass their exit slip originally. This system is not subject restricted, it can have a wide array of uses. Non traditional snow days, substitute teaching days, review days, etc. are just a couple of ways my teaching partner and I have discussed implementing the Google forms into the classroom. Accommodating for all students simultaneously is a daunting task for most teachers and through personal experience, this aspect alone has had a negative impact on the increase of teacher retention rates. With lower funding and higher classroom sizes, accommodating 30 students can seem unattainable at times. This system allows for a way to differentiate for each student in the classroom.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2015, December 31). What Is Differentiated Instruction? Retrieved May 13, 2019, from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/what-differentiated-instruction