Most classrooms today feature students of varying backgrounds and academic abilities; however, many teachers find it challenging to manage the ever-increasing needs of their students. One of the best approaches an instructor can take to meet the diverse needs of their students is through differentiation. Differentiation is critical because it gives students more opportunities to grow to their individualized potential.
While there are many ways to differentiate curriculum, one of the most effective approaches is student choice. As students are allowed choice, they will likely find the task more enjoyable and engaging. Furthermore, students must actively decide how to complete an assessment according to their strengths and weaknesses, which fortifies reflective learning practices and metacognitive learning. Lastly, as they will likely choose something aligned with their interest, the final product will be more authentic and of higher quality. Ultimately, as long as the student demonstrates the skill, the assessment should always be more about the process, not the product.
Some might find diversifying student choices overwhelming, but the strategy is easy to organize - especially in today’s digital age. One of my favorite differentiation instructional strategies is digital choice boards, which digitize student choice while supporting the learning objectives.
For a digital board to be effective, be sure to consider the following:
- Align activities to learning goals and lesson objectives
- Consider student learning styles
- Tier activities for complexity
- Consider different kinds of product options
- Afford student autonomy
- Encourage habits of reflection
Check out the following example I made for my former English class.
Wanting help brainstorming or developing your own digital choice board? Make an appointment with your EdTech team, and we would be happy to assist you!