Welcome to Try DI!: Planning & Preparing a Differentiated Instruction Program, an interactive computer-based instruction course. This course is designed to provide you an opportunity to learn about an instructional framework, Differentiated Instruction (DI), aimed at creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. Students will be presented a method for self-assessment of the extent to which their current instructional approach reflects the perspective, principles, and practices of the DI approach. The course reflects an approach that aligns the principles of DI with the practices of DI. The concept of a “theory of action” will also be provided within a DI context. The course has also been designed to introduce students to a range of strategies associated with a DI approach. Strategies included in this course have been selected on the basis that they are effective in the widest possible range of educational K-12 settings. This course follows Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, which addressed the What, Why, and Who of a classroom that reflects a DI approach. The focus of Try DI!: Planning & Preparing a Differentiated Instruction Program is on the When, Where, and How of the DI approach.
Try DI!: Planning & Preparing a Differentiated Instruction Program is an invitation to reflect, explore, and anchor professional practices in the current literature and growing research base in support of DI. This course is designed for anyone working with a diverse learning population across the K-12 spectrum and will have the most direct application to professionals serving students within a mixed-ability classroom setting.
This course, Try DI!: Planning & Preparing a Differentiated Instruction Program, has been divided into four chapters. As the second course in a multi-course series on Differentiated Instruction, the emphasis is on providing examples of strategies and methods associated with a DI approach. The course has been organized to ensure that each strategy, or idea on “how to” implement DI, is an extension of the DI approach as a whole and not just presented as a disjointed list of ideas to try. The first course in the series, Why DI?:An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, focused on the What, Why, and Who of a classroom that reflects a Differentiated Instruction approach. Try DI!: Planning & Preparing a Differentiated Instruction Program, will indirectly address the conditions, or When, Where, and How of the DI approach. Because DI is not a recipe for teaching or a prescriptive model, the structure of the course reflects a range of entry points for educators to consider as they reflect on the considerations teachers make when differentiating.
- Understand how differentiated instruction is defined and the distinctive elements of a classroom where DI is practiced.
- Outline elements of the rationale supporting implementation of a DI approach (i.e., why DI?).
- Identify the essential principles from which a DI approach is developed and implemented.
- Demonstrate understanding of a teacher reflection strategy aligned with principles of DI.
- Understand the need for alignment between instructional paradigm, educational priorities, principles of differentiation, and practices selected on a daily basis.
- Demonstrate understanding of a self-assessment tool used to reflect on current practice in comparison with elements of the DI approach.
- Understand the importance of having a “theory of action” as a teacher and the potential for elements entailed in the DI approach to enhance current practice.
- Identify several methods for gathering information about student-specific readiness.
- Understand the relationship between instructional decision making and student motivation.
- Identify DI strategies for designing environments that reflect Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles.
- Articulate some of the challenges when differentiating based on student readiness.
- Demonstrate understanding of strategies for differentiation to meet student-specific needs.
- Articulate the advantages of differentiating with regard to student interest.
- Explain the relationship between planning effective instruction and student motivation.
- Demonstrate understanding of methods for flexible grouping commonly used in a DI classroom.
- Identify general considerations to make when differentiating based on student-specific variables in the areas of interest and learning profiles.
- Explain the general parameters necessary for creating a positive learning environment.
- Outline a variety of teaching decisions that could be made in response to observations of students struggling to maintain progress.
- Articulate a number of instructional management strategies for improving the learning environment.
- Understand the significance of creating opportunities for students to reflect on and represent progress, achievement, and understanding.
- Outline the relevance of the DI approach to the topics of “traditional grading,” “competition,” “fairness,” and “equity.”
- Articulate difference between “assessment for learning” and “assessment of learning” within a DI approach.
- Outline the range of assessment choices and barriers most often encountered when implementing a differentiated classroom.
- Identify possible steps of a course of action for teachers transitioning from a non-DI (i.e., “one size fits all”) approach to a DI (i.e., “whatever it takes”) approach.
- Understand the functionality of an observation tool that reflects both the theories and practices with a DI approach.
There are no prerequisites.
As a student you will be expected to:
- Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.
- Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented. You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.
- Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
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