Engaging Diverse Learners With Technology

Powerful Essays
Part 1: Concepts learned

Concept 1: Clear, focused learning goals that work for all learners support differentiation

Establishing clear learning goals is the critical first step for reaching all learners. A goal that supports differentiation needs to be clear, but not so specific that there is only one pathway to success. Diverse learners can all work towards the same goals when multiple pathways are available. Similarly, there should be multiple levels of achievement possible to enable varying degrees of performance. Clear goals allow us to offer students varied pathways to learning, including scaffolding for support and challenges to extend learning. Further, it is important that learning goals be distinct and separate from the means used to achieve them. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines suggest that knowing which brain network is central to a particular standard helps us determine what must be held constant and where we can provide differentiation to support individual learning differences. Generally, recognition goals imply focus on specific content; strategic goals imply focus on a specific process or skill; and affective goals imply focus on a particular value (engagement) or emotional (enjoyment) outcome. Finally, it is important to communicate desired learning goals to students to help them understand what is expected of them.

Understanding how to establish clear learning goals will greatly improve my effectiveness as a teacher by helping me determine where I can offer flexible options and provide scaffolding. When I can identify what must be held constant for all students, I can better provide supports, set challenges and assess progress. Standards represent the knowledge, skills, and understandi...

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...//, Edutopia (; Free Technology for Teachers (; and SimpleK12 ( I have subscribed to their newsletters or blogs and am reading about classroom technology daily.

These resources will help me become a better teacher in several ways. I will be able to maximize my use of the existing technologies already available to me in my classroom. They will expand the repertoire of technology tools I am familiar with and broaden the options I can offer my students. They will provide fresh ideas to spark my thinking about how to integrate technology into my instruction, and they will help me find technology solutions to overcome specific barriers in my instruction. The more I learn, the more I try and the better able I am to engage diverse learners with technology.
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