I tried several different Google searches using “differentiation in online instruction” paired with “communication” and with “self-advocacy” and did not get any satisfactory results. Most results were similar to information we’ve already covered regarding the best practice of communication. Once I switched to “differentiation strategies in online environments” I found:
I settled on this one because of the following information:
#4 Differentiate Instruction Through Online Work
In a blended learning classroom, there is often online work that needs to occur. This might be a module on specific content, formative assessments, and the like. However, students may or may not need to do all the work that is in a specific module. In an effort to individualize instruction, use the online work to meet individual students needs. Whether an extension of learning, or work to clarify a misconception, the work that occurs online can be more valuable to students when it is targeted. Students are no longer engaged in uninteresting busy work, but focused, individualized learning.
I really wasn’t all that impressed with the results that I found and did not uncover any information that wasn’t presented in the readings for this week. I am interested to see what others came up with.
There are lots of similarities in differentiation in online instruction and face-to-face instruction. Content can be given in multiple ways (text, audio, video) and various assessments can be used in both formats. Teachers can offer students a variety of choices to access materials and cues for prompting in both formats.
The main difference in differentiation strategies with online learning and face-to-face is in the technology used to present material. Students need to be able to navigate the learning module and access all content areas. I think minimizing distractions and making the learning module as streamlined as possible is very important. While I found the Universal Design for Learning website interesting my initial reaction was that the print was very tiny and they had A LOT of information crammed into one space. I also had to do a fair amount of clicking to check out all the different options and then retrace my steps which I found a little overwhelming. The checkpoints I was initially drawn to were optimizing motivation, facilitating coping skills, support planning and strategy, and support memory and transfer. I was excited to see the Quizlet resource there because it was something I recognized our teachers often using and a resource that I advise students to access when we are doing academic counseling.
Another difference is in student discussion and face-to-face participation. You cannot recreate this in an online environment. Students can provide answers to discussion questions online and even participate in real time chats with each other, but a question and answer or lively discussion conversation after reading a poem or conducting a science experiment is only possible in a traditional classroom.
I plan to use differentiation in my module by varying how content is presented. Since my module is a hybrid, this variation will occur face-to-face and through Schoology. I am going to use videos to deliver content and act as conversation starters. Theses conversations will occur face-to-face and also through discussion posts online. I am also planning to incorporate a study skills work book for written content and have the students engage in interactive role play and group discussions.