I am a fourth grade teacher with a class of very diverse needs and talents. I have a few gifted students, a couple of ESL students, and several reading lab students who are reading far below grade level. Using technology often presents the same problems for special needs students that traditional methods of instruction does. Can anyone offer any ideas for providing support for students who need it and enrichment for students who are advanced when using technology?

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Several years ago I did a 3 hour workshop at NECC on using technology to differentiate--the focus was gifted but many of the options would work for all kids. I have the handouts, the ppt and the whole workshop is online (but password protected) Let me know if you are interested and I'll pass along what I have.

PS There were 500 screen-captured slides in the ppt---it was a workshop on speed!!!

I'd be very interested. Can you share the url/password here? If not please email me at lnielsen@schools.nyc.gov.

Check out Ira Socol's blog - http://speedchange.blogspot.com/

and read his Toolbelt Theory and Free Universal Design Technologies for starters - his "Top 13 Posts"

to get you thinking about how to use free technologies in new ways for all students!
I have a video from NECC called The Power of Differentiated Instruction which you can get to from the NECC 2006 Video Page on my wiki. It's a panel discussion.
Kevin Honeycutt suggests downloading the free Google SketchUp for students to use a 3-D drafting program - looks cool! He also has art lessons on his website for using throughout the curriculum with students who are more kinesthetic/artistic
Our office just started collecting resources which you can check out at http://www.oit.nycenet.edu/diff/resources.php.
Hi Ken--

I have used podcasts extensively with my students to help them retain info in my secondary history classes. My inclusion students are all loving them. See my page and my website for samples in the history subjects. Students download them to their iPods and review them at their leisure and as often as needed!

It has transformed my classroom!

My classroom experience sounds very similar to yours. I have students at a variety of levels and some students have trouble with some of the technology related projects we do in class.

The easiest solution for me is to have the 'gifted' students help those who encounter more challenges. Often times I'll appoint an "expert" or two to be the problem solver/how-to person for the middle level students having trouble. This frees me up to help out the most challenged students more. Before I give the student expert status, I'll usually have him (I'm in an all boys school) come in before or after school and I'll show him a few tricks for whatever we're doing.

My most recent use was for a movie project my class was working on. We interviewed some folks at a senior center and each student made a movie about the person he interviewed. I only had seven computers for students to work on so I showed the class the basics and then had them take turns making their movies. While the rest of the group worked on another assignment I wandered from computer to computer helping out anyone who needed it. If another student needed help, one of my experts jumped in. There were a couple students who needed a lot of extra help and I just had one of my experts partner with them.

The interesting thing about this was that one of my computer experts was one of the lowest readers in the class. With computers, he was a whiz. The project gave him the opportunity to really shine and he was a huge help to me.



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