Week Six Essential Question: What does it mean to differentiate the process (content, strategies for instruction) in the classroom?
Please visit my Storify page to see my answer to this week’s essential question:
This week in the diffiMOOC… I connected with a wonderful group of folks who would like to work together on Project 2: Nathan has graciously offered his classroom (with its exciting advanced technology resources like an overhead projector and transparency film that you can put through the copier!) and his students to explore a digital age learning experience with us. Chip and Colin are leading us boldly into the simulated cubic world of Minecraft.edu. I think Tracey and I are hoping we can keep up and trying to make sense of it all. We managed a four-way Google hangout this evening, although I think I have a hardware issue with my microphone. I’ll need to work on that.
I spent some time learning more about diigo. I’ve learned how simple it is to add to my lists (just click “edit” for the item I want to add, and then select the list). I guess my automated link to this blog didn’t work. I’ll have to try to set it up again. Here’s the link: https://www.diigo.com/user/annekurland
I’ve been thinking a lot about the changes in the educational landscape since I left the classroom more than thirteen years ago. I attended a masters program in childhood (K-6) education at Boston University in 1991 and then taught in a multi-age classroom (grades 3-5) in Salem, Massachusetts, 1992-1999. At the time, the buzzwords were whole language, hands-on science, math with manipulatives, literature-based instruction, cooperative learning, flexible grouping, integrated curriculum, and multiple intelligences. I was the first teacher in my school to have a whiteboard, the kind you write on with Expo markers, and, no, it wasn’t magnetic. The most exciting thing was that my class was participating in a service learning project through a grant that allowed us to have four or five Macintosh computers that were networked to each other (but not to the internet). That was cutting edge technology in our school district. I remember trying to persuade the administration that a fax machine was a worthwhile investment.
I am happy to be learning how far technology has advanced and how to begin to use some of the many new tools available. The pace of change is incredible. As far as all the education buzzwords, I think those ideas are still current, and they are all tools in the differentiation toolbox.