Beep beep. Boop boop. Find Jimmy’s log-in. Beep beep. Boop boop. Connect Jill’s computer to internet. Beep beep. Boop boop. Abort mission–spitball landed on Joey’s keyboard. Let’s face it. Using technology in the classroom can sometimes feel like being a robot: monotonously correcting user errors (and occasionally computer errors 😉 ) until our motherboard explodes. That’s why, when we do decide to oil up the tin man teacher, it’s critical that we use technology with a purpose: to reach the students we teach. These students enter our classrooms with myriad abilities, personalities, intelligences, and learning styles. DifferentiTECH is a blog dedicated to helping students achieve their full potential by using technology to differentiate process, product, content, and learning environment.
To make this blog most useful, posts are categorized according to the four types of differentiation: process, product, content, and environment. Respectively, this involves mixing up how students take in content and how students show what they have learned, as well as what content is presented, and the setting in which students learn.
Finally, posts are organized by tags according to ability level, personality, multiple intelligences, and learning styles of students that would most benefit from a particular tool or tip. This way, if you would like to see all posts related to kinesthetic learners, for instance, you can do just that! Below you will find a description of each category.
We all have students of low, middle, and high abilities. Here are some of the tags you will see based on ability level.
Tags: ability, low ability, high ability, struggling readers
Myers Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test which characterizes people based on a combination of four factors, each of which is placed on a continuum:
- How we take in energy (introverted vs. extraverted)
- How we gather information (sensing vs. intuition)
- How we make decisions (thinking vs. feeling)
- How we structure our lives (judging vs. perceiving)
Once the personality test determines where you fall on each continuum, it spits out a four-letter code that describes your personality type. There are sixteen different types in all. If you have never taken the Myers Briggs test, you can take a high-quality, free, 12-minute version of it here (You could also have your students take this test). Once you know your own type, Jane A.G. Kise, author of Differentiation Through Personality Types, suggests structuring your lessons to accommodate for the opposite type. To make this task a bit easier, Kise also suggests focusing primarily on the first two factors–introversion vs. extraversion and sensing vs. intuition–because they most directly affect how students learn. This narrows it down from sixteen to four main types of learners, described below:
EN (extraverted intuition): These students learn by leading. Start with the big picture, let them dream and explore, provide them variety and choice, and give them the chance to share their ideas in groups or with the class.
ES (extraverted sensing): These students learn best by doing and working with others. Give them hands-on activities with clear instructions and deadlines, show them examples, and let them apply their knowledge right away.
IN (introverted intuition): These students are independent, creative thinkers. They love to explore new ideas, so providing them choice and variety in their learning helps them build their own knowledge base.
IS (introverted sensing): These students want clear instructions and examples provided in writing; they like structure and routine, so build on their knowledge by allowing them to work with facts and connecting knowledge with past experiences. Finally, give these students time to think before they are asked to speak.
Finally, although they are not as closely tied to how students learn, the last two factors of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator–thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving–can still help teachers reach students.
Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinking students make decisions based on facts and logic, while feeling students make decisions based on gut instinct and emotion, so differentiating the learning environment can help accommodate both types.
Judging vs. Perceiving: Judging students like routine and order; they are typically well-organized and demonstrate high follow-through; however, sometimes their “get stuff done” attitude can lead to rushed work or high anxiety. In contrast, perceiving students love variety and surprise; they are great explorers, but may have a difficult time staying focused or following through with assignments. Differentiating process can help both types learn to use their assets and avoid their pitfalls.
To learn more about the personality types and how to differentiate for them, I highly suggest reading Kise’s book, Differentiation Through Personality Types. Below are some of the tags you will see for personality types:
Tags: personality, EN, ES, IN, IS, thinking, feeling, judging, perceiving
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences suggests that intelligence is not just about IQ; in fact, Gardner suggests that there are seven distinct types of intelligence that are equally valid:
- Visual spatial: These learners think in terms physical space and how things are related to one another; they learn well through charts, diagrams, images, and models.
- Bodily kinesthetic: These learners have a strong sense of body awareness. They learn well through physical activity and hands-on learning.
- Musical: These learners process information in terms of rhythm and sound; they learn well by listening to as well as creating their own music.
- Interpersonal: These learners excel at empathizing and communicating with others; they learn well by interacting with people.
- Intrapersonal: These learners involve themselves in deep self-reflection; they learn well through independent study and introspection.
- Linguistic: These learners are wordsmiths; they are excellent at processing words verbally and visually.
- Logical mathematical: These learners think in terms of conceptual patterns and relationships; they learn well through investigation of ideas, and need to grasp the big picture before attending to small details.
For more information on Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, click here. Here are some of the tags you will see for the multiple intelligences:
Tags: multiple intelligence, visual spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical mathematical
VAK Learning Styles
VAK refers to Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic, and describes the three primary ways in which we absorb information. Although most individuals prefer one learning style over the others, we learn best when we combine all three methods. Below is a description of each type:
Visual: These learners take in the most information when they can see it; they learn well through pictures, words, and charts.
Auditory: These learners take in the most information when they can hear it; they learn well through voices, as well as hearing their own voice repeated back to them.
Kinesthetic: These learners take in the most information when they can physically manipulate something; they learn well through hands-on activities.
Click here to take the learning styles assessment. With only twenty questions and a wealth of tips for how to learn better based on your type, this quiz would be ideal for students to take as well! Below are some tags you will see for learning styles:
Tags: learning styles, auditory, kinesthetic, visual
Kise, Jane A. G. Differentiation through Personality Types: A Framework for Instruction, Assessment, and Classroom Management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2007. Print.
Lane, Carla. “Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.” Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. The Education Coalition, n.d. Web. 06 June 2016.