As teachers, we are aware that all students learn and access information in different ways. We cannot just lecture to meet the needs of our entire class. Therefore, we need to find ways to share the same information in different ways. The NETS-T or ISTE Teacher Standards list this as 2c, to customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.
With the use of technology, it can be very easy to offer multiple ways to learn about a given topic. For example, if a teacher was discussing Martin Luther King Jr. in February for Black History Month, they could talk about it in class. But it would be very beneficial for many students to view a video of one of his speeches. In addition, a teacher could find an interactive website that students could access from school or home to learn even more about him and the time period. Additionally, a teacher could engage the students with a blog in which students compare and contrast Dr. King with a modern day activist. The technology makes information about Dr. King available in many forms.
The NETS-T 2c standard also embraces the idea of UDL or Universal Design for Learning. "UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs." Technology can be a tremendous aid for a teacher choosing to implement UDL principles in their classes. You can learn more about UDL and Technology from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
Teachers can also offer differentiated learning experiences with the use of technology. I have seen this done in many ways from the Khan Academy Coach for differentiating math lessons to learning menus that involve technology and allow students choices of tasks to complete to show understanding.
As you continue to prepare lesson plans this year, don't forget to utilize technology as a valuable differentiated learning tool for students.