Recently I had the opportunity to attend digital days (an educational conference) at Newton Conover Middle School. In one of the sessions I learned a lot about using technology to facilitate differentiation in the classroom. There were some websites and apps mentioned that I had heard of prior to the conference, but there were many that I learned about during the class session. In this blog post I want to discuss these websites and apps so hopefully other educators will find them as useful and effective as I did.
The first website/app that was mentioned was Nearpod (http://www.nearpod.com/rocking-webIE/). This website is a great tool in the way that it allows teachers to present differentiated lesson plans to students. As a teacher, you can create your own Nearpod account and add presentations for students. The neat thing about Nearpod is that you as the teacher have 100 % control of the presentation. You are able to move slides and pause the screen and students don’t have access to moving ahead in the lesson unless you allow them access. This website can be extremely helpful in the way that it offers teachers the opportunities to make quizzes for an individual student. This allows for differentiated learning in the classroom and also allows the teacher to administer a formative assessment. Teachers can also incorporate free response questions throughout the presentation for students to complete and once they do, it is shown on the teachers screen. I love this website and I plan to use it in my future classroom.
The next app that was mentioned was Todo Math. This is an app designed for students to play math games. This app has different concepts for students to work on which allows them to complete different levels according to the math concepts they have mastered. There is not a log in for students on this app so it’s important to monitor students’ activity on the app. You can monitor their progress by asking them to take a screenshot on the iPad so they can show you what they accomplished in that center. I thought this was a great app for students to use because it allows them to receive math practice according to the level they are on.
The third app discussed in the session was Raz-Kids. This is an app that is designed for reading instruction. You as the teacher can place students on a specific reading level. Also, you are able to select books for the students to read or they are able to listen to the audio recording of the book. This app highlights each word as students are listening which allows them to receive more practice with text directionality. There is a quiz at the end of each book which allows the teacher to see if the student understood the material. I like this app because it allows teachers to set students on their academic reading level which allows for differentiation.
The fourth app that was discussed in the session was Spelling City. This app is designed for students to get more practice with spelling. I found this app to be very helpful because teachers are able to upload their spelling lists and students are able to get more practice with classroom spelling. I like how you can incorporate your own spelling words because this allows students to practice spelling in a technological way. Students will be more excited about spelling if they are able to use technology. I definitely want to use this app in my future classroom.
Lastly, the app Sock Puppets is an app designed for main idea and story elements. I absolutely loved this app and how it can be used in the classroom to facilitate differentiation. This app allows groups of students to create a sock puppet play and they are able to choose the plot, characters, and main idea. Students can record a conversation between two characters for 30 seconds. This app also helps with students’ social skills since it allows them to record their voice. This app is great to use in the classroom and I’m sure students would love to have the opportunity to use this technology.
All of these websites and apps can be incorporated in the classroom to facilitate differentiation. Not only do they help students reach academic goals, but they are learning strategies that students enjoy. I found all of these websites and apps to be helpful in the way they provide differentiation in the classroom.