Why I will no longer work to differentiate instruction by Lisa Nielsen

10/21/2011 1:18:16 PM

I used to be a big fan of differentiated instruction. It all came together for me when I learned about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model at ConFratute and then helped schools use Renzulli Learning which is a terrific differentiation machine. A couple years later Marc Prensky’s book Teaching Digital Natives---Partnering for Real Learning was released and he even acknowledged me in it!! This also became part of the differentiation game to me. I began speaking and writing about differentiated instruction more and more and explaining to teachers that this really wasn’t that hard. Especially if we focused on student centered learning like the teachers I wrote about in my post, Student Driven Learning = Passion-Based Classrooms.

I realized that when teachers gave up control and empowered students to use the tools they want and meet learning goals in the way they choose, then true differentiation could begin and it wasn’t all on the shoulders of the teacher to figure out how to do this. So you might be wondering why, if I’m such a big fan of differentiated instruction, I have decided it’s not something I am willing to do any longer.

It was
Tom Welch who reached out and asked me to join him in abandoning the term differentiating "instruction." He explained, it this way:

What we really need to help occur in classroom is differentiated "learning." This accomplishes the student ownership of the learning, allows for a passion-driven approach, shifts the responsibility for the learning to the learner (where it belongs) and changes the teacher's role to what you consistently advocate. There also also many other reasons -- like the elimination of the typical classroom culture of dependency, and the way this allows learning to go viral by removing artificial timelines that ignore individual learner needs, passions and differences.

He goes on to recognize that many teachers groan when anyone talks about differentiated instruction because it just makes them feel inadequate. He shares however, that when he speaks about differentiated learning, and shares the way this shifts responsibility, etc, they begin to look at many elements of the learning process in a different way.

Tom is right! The conversation must evolve from “Differentiating Instruction” to “Differentiating Learning.” Our students will thank us!

Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com and Transforming Education for the 21st Century http://ted21c.ning.com learning network. Lisa is an outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success. Her first book “Teaching Generation Text” is set for a fall 2011 release. You can follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.


comments powered by Disqus

ETIN Releases Guidelines for Research on Educational Technologies in K-12 Schools

Changes in education technology and policy spur updated approach to in...

Edthena’s New Commitments Feature Allows Teachers to Quickly Create Their Professional Learning Plans

During the video coaching process, teachers can turn comments into an ...

New Study Finds Alabama Students Improve Test Scores Using Fuel Education’s Stride

Study by the Auburn University Center for Evaluation (ACE) found Fuel ...

StudySync Presents the 2017 MyStudySyncTV Contest Winners

Each year, StudySync awards prizes for the top middle school and high ...

Dremel Unveils DigiLab Product Suite with New 3D45 Printer

MOUNT PROSPECT, ILL. (JULY 19, 2017) — Educators and l...

Educators and Advocates Travel to Fort Collins for Renewable Energy Education Training

The 26 hand-selected participants, all of which have a passion for spr...

Epson BrightLink Interactive Laser Display Wins ISTE 2017 Best of Show Award

Connecting Educators and Students with Creative Collaboration in the C...

MeTEOR Education Releases New Learning Resource for Educators: Humanizing the Education Machine Thinking Guide

New Thinking Guide Serves as a Companion Workbook that Helps Educators...

T&L Partner Post
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...