EDU629: Module 2

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EDU629: Module 2

In my area of certification, Technology, differentiation is reflected in the way I work within my workshops. However, it does not always surface in the planning of curriculum and in the past was not inherent to the learning environment. 

Within my the workshops I teach in I tend to do a lot of modeling for my students before they take on a new task or project. I am in alignment with Sousa and Tomlinson’s nonnegotiables for differentiation(Page 10) in the sense that I regularly use assessment from a current or prior unit to inform how I instruct in a responsive fashion. I also tend to lead my students through skill learning or project work with flexibility and accessibility at the forefront. While the content is typically rigid and informed by what we have in our shops and our departments course pathways I modify process and content for my students. In order to better adapt to this rigid content I have started to create pathways or options within projects to address what students need to succeed minimally within my course, give them insight into what will be covered in future tech courses, or how they can deep dive on a current skill or project topic. This is something I started explicitly doing half way through this year and plan to do more of from the start of next year. I also see that providing process or content modifications like this begin to open up conversations with students about interests and novel learning challenges for the individual student. In the end this may be more work for me, but it allows for some students to engage with the work at their own levels of skill and curiosity.

One challenge is consistent response to student readiness, interest, and learning profiles to keep them engaged in the work. Within my non-foundations this is less of an issue as students generally are ready and interested to engage in the learning. Within my foundations courses it’s harder to efficiently do this work with higher enrollment and varied student interests. A potential way to overcome this is pushing the students to do more frequent independent inquiry as well as some form of meta-cognition while undergoing project work. Departmentally I believe getting the students to focus on their goals and the pathways we offer may be a good lens for how we better differentiate the work they do. I believe in doing this we will be more explicitly engaging in persistent assessment that’s not wholly focused on general skill development.

Last summer I realized that small group instruction was not comfortable or fully realized within one of my shops. I reconfigured a few tables as well as a TV cart to form a designated small group instruction space. I also opened many of my classes at this space in order to begin normalizing the use of it as a space for clarification and work. Previously the room was configured primarily for one-to-many demonstration in a way that felt distant as well as was not conducive to community interaction with tangibles.

I still struggle to differentiate in a way that is both beneficial to the student and “convenient” for myself. I believe that only time and testing new tools will allow for me to find a practice that works well and is sustainable.

CH 1 - Sousa, D. A. Differentiation and the Brain. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from