Top Sites for Differentiated Instruction

Elementary students having computer class with their teacher in the classroom.
(Image credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)

Teachers have always known their students aren’t all working at the same level. Yet for teachers to adjust lesson plans manually for each child seems a daunting task, given that there are only 24 hours in a day. Here’s where education technology tools really shine. Using online digital platforms that combine formative assessment, lesson plans, quizzes, progress tracking, and artificial intelligence, educators can easily adjust instruction for an entire classroom of kids at once. 

The following websites for differentiated instruction offer a wide variety of methods to differentiate teaching and learning for any budget.  

Top Sites for Differentiated Instruction

Top Free Sites for Differentiated Instruction

How to Differentiate Instruction in the Classroom
While it’s simple to say, “Educators should differentiate instruction,” the reality is more complicated. How exactly can differentiation be accomplished in a classroom with 20-30 kids of varying temperaments and development? This article takes a look at the definition, origin, and implementation of differentiated instruction, offering specific methods and examples for classroom teachers. 

Read Write Think Differentiating Instruction
Read Write Think has developed a comprehensive series of guides detailing strategies for differentiation in the classroom, from assessment to cooperative learning to the think-pair-share technique. Each guide includes the research basis for the strategy, how to implement it, and lesson plans. A must-have for your differentiated teaching.

Best Free Formative Assessment Tools and Apps
First things first: Without formative assessment, there’s no differentiation. Explore 14 of the best free sites and apps for helping teachers gauge their students’ skill level in reading, math, science, or any subject.
The brainchild of educator Russel Tarr, allows teachers to create games, quizzes, activities, and diagrams for creative differentiated learning. Don’t be fooled by’s simple layout -- this site is a powerhouse of free, fun, and easy-to-use tools for teaching and learning, many of which are not found elsewhere. Try the Tarsia Puzzle Generator, Dice Roller, or Turbo Timeline Generator. Don’t worry: “Fling the Teacher” is all in good fun. 

Breaking News English
A remarkable free site that transforms current events into rich classroom lessons for learners of any ability. Each news article is written at four different reading levels and accompanied by online grammar, spelling, and vocabulary activities as well as printable worksheets. Students can also listen to audio at five speeds for each article. Ideal for ELL students or simply differentiating English lessons.
Very cool free site that “rewordifies” by simplifying difficult text, from classic literature (Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, Harriet Beecher Stowe, e.g.) to historical documents and modern internet articles. Users can upload their own text or URL, or browse existing content. Be sure to check out the printable vocabulary exercises and quizzes, and the Educator Central department, which allows teachers to add student accounts and track progress.

Top Freemeum Sites for Differentiated Instruction

The not-for-profit Quill is dedicated to providing free tools to help students improve their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Start with the diagnostic tests to assess your students’ learning. A strong set of tutorials will guide teachers and students in making the most of Quill.

K-8 game-based learning across a wide range of subjects. The educational portal allows teachers to track and monitor students, generate detailed reports, and assess student learning.

Chronicle Cloud
An all-in-one platform for taking notes, assessing students, providing feedback, and more, Chronicle Cloud helps teachers differentiate instruction in real time. 

This easy-to-use, innovative platform acts as a digital hand-raising device, making it easy for kids to ask for help and for teachers to provide it in a timely fashion. 

Edji is an interactive learning tool that engages students through collaborative highlighting, annotation, comments, and even emojis. The detailed heat map helps educators to gauge student understanding and personalize lessons. Still not sure how it works? Try the Edji demo – no sign up required!

Pear Deck  
A Google Slides add-on that allows educators to create quizzes, slides, and presentations with their own content or using templates. Students respond via their mobile devices; teachers can then assess student understanding in real time. 

Actively Learn
Educators can make any reading material their own by adding questions and annotation. The “Extra Help” features supports differentiated learning by offering explanatory text when needed. Integrates with Google Classroom and Canvas.  

Top Paid Sites for Differentiated Instruction

Renzulli Learning
Founded by education researchers, Renzulli Learning is a learning system that differentiates instruction for any student through careful assessment of student learning style, preferences and creativity. Integrates with Clever, ClassLink, and other SSO providers. A generous 90-day free trial makes it easy to try it yourself.

A unique site that lets students express their creativity by adding their own chapters to an initial story prompt. Classmates can anonymously vote on which ones should be included in the final story. BoomWriter then publishes these stories as softcover books, and can personalize each one to include the student's name on the cover and their final chapter as an alternate ending. Other tools support nonfiction and vocabulary-based writing activities.

A popular site for English language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish that allows student progress tracking with detailed reporting. Educators can monitor areas in which students struggle, and then adjust instruction accordingly.

A blended interactive learning tool for creating shareable presentations or digital stories, Buncee includes an extensive multimedia library to enrich your slideshows. Teachers can also flip a classroom by assigning quizzes, plus track and monitor students. 30-day free trial, no credit card required.

Education Galaxy
Education Galaxy is a K-6 online platform that uses gameplay to engage and motivate students to learn a wide variety of subjects. The site also supports assessing student needs and integrating self-paced learning.

A one-to-one learning management solution and mobile learning environment through which educators can differentiate instruction based on detailed real-time analytics.

Teachers can use Parlay to build a classroom discussion on any topic. Browse through a robust library of discussion prompts (with resources), facilitate online round tables, or create a live verbal round table. Use the built-in tools to provide feedback and assess student progress. Free trial for teachers. 

A standards-aligned, game-based learning system dedicated to differentiated learning that automatically adjusts content to student needs.

An innovative online assessment platform that makes it easy for teachers to differentiate instruction through timely detailed progress reports. 

Diana Restifo

Diana has been Tech & Learning's web editor and contributor since 2010, dedicated to ferreting out the best free tech tools for teachers.