The future depends on what we do in the present. - Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Edu 6714 week 8 Reflection

In the past eight weeks while taking this course, I have gained a better appreciation of what Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) means. As described by Dr. Mclaughlin (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009), UDL is an "instructional approach that opens learning opportunities for all students. It is flexible instruction," with the use of technology whenever possible. DI is an instructional method that assesses students at their current levels, and creates curriculum to fit their instructional needs. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009)

Prior to taking this class, my understanding of DI was a plethora of lesson plans individualized for each student, but now I know differently. Essentially, DI is creating lessons with built in choices, and levels of challenge, so learning is customized to fit the student. It is not necessary to create multiple assignments, you can do it with a within a single lesson. In addition to gaining knowledge about what DI and UDL was all about, I also had the opportunity to share digital resources with classmates using a social network. Searching for technology to implement DI in the classroom, and then sharing those resources with classmates on a social network, enabled my classmates and I, to “cover more virtual ground” in looking for useful technology, strategies, and techniques to help implement an effective differentiated classroom. In this instance, technology proved to be invaluable in regards to collegial professional development and collaboration. This is what I hope to model for my students in hopes that they become resourceful life-long learners.

One of the first changes that I plan to make to my instructional practice creating tiered lessons that accommodates for high, middle and low level learners. Tiered lessons will allow me to challenge all student abilities within the classroom.

This class has proved that technology is important and necessary if a teacher wants to develop an effective differentiated classroom. Technology is a customizable instructional tool that can be modified, and used to target everyone’s needs. It is patient, flexible and versatile. Before any differentiation can take place, a teacher must first get to know the students background knowledge, interests and learning styles. The most efficient and effective way to gain this knowledge is using technology. By using applications such as I can create and administer student surveys at the start of each school year that will give the information that I need in order to create relevant student based lessons and pick suitable topics. Applications such as Microsoft suites, and Adobe suites can be used by all students; whether they are beginners or experts, because the technology does not recognize knowledge levels. There is so much technology out there that can help generate student interest and help manage a classroom environment conducive to learning, but as this class has also shown, it takes a lot of research, collaboration, patience, and a whole lot of time to find it.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Universal Design for Learning. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.