EXPLORING THE USE OF TABLET DEVICES IN DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING
With contemporary classrooms becoming increasingly diverse,Educational authorities, teachers and school administrators are looking to teaching and learning strategies that cater for a variety of learning profiles. In differentiated learning each child is responsible for its own learning while opportunities are also offered to collaborate with peers. One of the most important purposes of this model is to invite students to become engaged in the process, thus leading to overall benefits for the entire class. In addition, the purpose of differentiating the curriculum is to provide appropriate learning opportunities for gifted and talented students.Generally, differentiated instruction is responding to the needs of different learners. Students learn best when their teachers accommodate the differences in their readiness levels, interests and learning profiles. Differentiated instruction can be performed in a variety of ways, and if teachers are willing to use this philosophy in their classrooms, they opt for a more effective practice that responds to the needs of diverse learners (Tomlinson, 2000a, 2005). The aim of this paper is to portray the advantages of Differentiated Learning through three examples based on the use of tablets in the classroom and specifically on the use of the iPad. Every child had its own iPad (one-to-one model). Students were given the opportunity to take advantage of ibooks which had been created by the teachers and there were other applications which will be discussed in this presentation.Students used a variety of iPad tools, like the camera,for pictures and video, the ibooks and some applications that allow for differentiated learning. Other examples of differentiated learning discussed in this paper are entry cards, the use of which serves as an important teaching method for detecting what students already know and their level of skill attainment.There are different ways that student prior knowledge can be determined, for example, brainstorming or producing a concept map or answering a series of questions on a test. These types of pre–tests can provide valuable information about individual differences in ability within the class. The curriculum can then be compacted to delete outcomes that have already been achieved if some students demonstrate mastery of them. Furthermore, in the classroom we used exit cards and answer cards. With these cards the teacher can collect very useful information about the profile of each student. These cards help the teacher to evaluate, plan her teaching and perform group separation.Last but not least, it has been claimed by some researchers that our intelligence or ability to understand the world around us is complex. For some of us it is relatively easy to understand how a flower grows but it is immensely difficult for us to understand and use a musical instrument. For others music might be easy but playing football is difficult.For this reason, the BGfl Multiple Intelligences is a questionnaire that calls on students to answer 10 questions focusing on student interests, in order for the teacher to motivate students according to the findings.Finally, it’s worth mentioning assessment-evaluation of differentiated instruction.Three types of assessment will be discussed:Generally, assessment of differentiated instruction should be an on going process.