Ten Tips for Differentiation Utilizing Technology

February 7, 2007 at 10:51 am (children, Education, kids, Parents, reading, school, technology)

Ten Tips for Differentiation

Do you have students who don’t “get it”? What about students who just don’t seem motivated or interested?

These resources help students who need scaffolding to build connections.

Reading Level
Active Participation


Many students need their work to be meaningful. Without meaning, some students become distracted and others do mediocre work. A WebQuest is an inquiry-based approach to learning that provides a meaningful task and quality resources to complete this task. A WebQuest can also be tailored to provide a variety of resources such as audio, video, visuals, and text.

Choose a WebQuest that could be adapted for use in your classroom. Reformat the WebQuest for use as a PowerQuest using PowerPoint. Or, use Word to construct a WebQuest that adapts elements from a number of different WebQuests.

Explore the following WebQuest examples: http://www.bestwebquests.com/

You don’t have to develop an entire WebQuest to bring meaningfulness to an activity. Use PowerPoint as a tool to present scenarios or pose questions. Then, provide a web resource to provide information. For example, which cat would you choose for your story?

Or, what questions do we have about these habitats or historical photographs?


Some students are drawn to activities that connect to local or world events. These students excel when working with real, current events and activities. Provide students with choices that relate to individual interests, while still connecting to current information and ideas. Use online newspapers, magazines, radio, and television as starting points.

Design an activity to uses a specific section or articles from an online news source. Consider choices at different reading levels. Or, focus on visuals. Create an activity title, overview, URL, and list of activities.

News Sources

CBC Kids – from Canada
CBBC – from the UK for kids
Channel One
Earth & Sky Radio Show
Environmental News Network
Kid’s Castle from Smithsonian
LA Youth – by youth for youth
Newz Crew from PBS
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic News
National Geographic Today – great list of stories; leads to other stories
News Hour Extra from PBS
NY Times Student Connections
Scholastic News Zone – listen to scholastic radio
Student News Net
Time for Kids
Washington Post for Kids – registration required
Weekly Reader – subscription based
Why Files
World Wildlife Federation Newsroom
Yahooligans News


Some students do well with a brief overview of a topic and a single example. Other students need lots of practice to master a skill.

Create a list of interactive activities students could use to practice or review specific skills. List the topic, standards, and URL.

BBC Learning: Human Body & Schools
DiscoverySchool Brain Booster
National Geographic Games
National Geographic BackTalk – write captions for photos
National Geographic Wild and Wacky – add your own words
National Geographic Sounds Off – share an idea
Ology from American Museum of Natural History
Read!Write!Think! – Student Materials
Read!Write!Think! Letter Generator
Read!Write!Think! Calendar
Scholastic – teacher page
Scholastic – student page
Yahooligans Games – go to the test your knowledge section
Why use boring worksheets when you can find things that students will love to read? Use the following resources to check reading comprehension. Or, ask students to summarize or critique. Design a Word document that uses the high-interest content in one of the following pages. Include a title, photograph, link, and list of questions or problem to solve.

Yahooligans Music
Yahooligans Movies
Yahooligans Book Club
Scholastic News: Entertainment
Sports Illustrated for Kids
How Stuff Works

Reading Level

In most classrooms, students read at a wide range of reading levels. Be sure that you’re selecting resources for a variety of levels. Also, look for websites that provided leveled reading resources.

Create an activity and provide online readings at three different reading levels.

Use the resources below locate materials at varied reading levels.

Enchanted Learning http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html
Fact Monster – lower reading http://www.factmonster.com/
Information Please – higher reading http://www.infoplease.com/


Students enjoy working with real facts, numbers, and documents. Rather than “watered down” resources found in workbooks, look for the “real thing” online. From the stock market to sports statistics, the web is filled with opportunities to manipulate real-world data.

Locate a photograph, document, or piece of data that would bring a classroom topic to life. Design a short activity around this information.

American Memories Learning Page http://memory.loc.gov/learn/
National Archives Classroom http://www.archives.gov/education/
42explore http://42explore.com/

Active Participation

Students need to be active. Many students are motivated by interactive resources that ask them to create, build, design, or make decisions. They also like to make decisions and participate in polls and surveys. There are lots of online tools for students to use.

Try an online tool. Consider ways to get students excited about learning through the use of online and off-line tools such as Inspiration, Timeliner, KidPix, and PowerPoint.


You can’t take students to Antarctica or the Amazon, but you can take students on a virtual field trip. Some students lack even basic experiences such as visiting a city or a farm. Use the Internet to help these students make a connection.

Locate a virtual field trip. Where in a unit would you use this resources? To motivate at the beginning of a unit or review at the end? Brainstorm ways that you could create a virtual field trip with your class.

Homework Spot: Field Trip
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: Dinosphere Activities
Journey North

Create your own virtual field trip using the following PowerPoint templates (right-click and save to hard drive):

Template 1 – Template 1 Example
Template 2 – Template 2 Example
Template 3 – Template 3 Example
Template 4 – Template 4 Example


Some students need motivation to write, draw, or express themselves in other ways. Sometimes technology can provide motivating tools and resources.

Develop an ecard activity that makes use of an ecard.

Yahooligan Ecards
Enature ecards
San Diego Zoocards
Jan Brett
Teacher Tap: Electronic Postcard
Yahooligan Animals


Students enjoy sharing their ideas with a real-world audience. Explore ways to provide connections for students.

Go to Froogle and e-bay. Brainstorm ways that real-world products can be used in the classroom.

Go to KidsLearn and explore their online projects. Plan to participate in this project. Or locate a class and write an email to the class. Or, create a nicenet forum.

Explore Dr. Lamb’s Flat Stanley Project. Explore National Math Trail.

Go to Epals and find a classroom in another state or country at your grade level. Or, find a classroom that studies at topic or reads a book that’s in your curriculum.

Epals – locate classes, get email, built in translator
Teacher Tap: Travel Buddy
Travel Buddy – Asia


Some students need a challenge. Ask students to think rather than copy through activities such as evaluating, critiquing, and creating.

Design an activity that involves students in critiquing books reviews or websites created by other students.

ThinkQuest Projects
Teacher Tap: Plagiarism and the Internet
Papermill Links


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