Differentiating Content with Technology

From http://members.shaw.ca/priscillatheroux/differentiating.htmlContent can be described as the knowledge, skills and attitudes we want children to learn. Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so the teacher can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students demonstrating understanding of the concept can skip the instruction step and proceed to apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. This strategy is often referred to as compacting the curriculum. Another way to differentiate content is simply to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently on some projects, i.e. they cover the content faster than their peers.


When content must be delivered, provide a video/audio file.

Delivering content via audio or video is helpful to students. When the video or audio is available to them, they can rewind, pause, listen to aspects of the information that are unclear and clarify information for themselves through repetition without fear of appearing “slow” in the classroom. Some college professors have voiced fear that if their lectures are placed online students will no longer attend class. In reality, this didn’t seem to happen. View the Chronicle of Higher Ed Blog called More Professors Could Share and read the comments, many of which are from schools where lectures are recorded and placed online for students (and others) to consume.

Content delivery is only one aspect of learning in the 21st Century classroom. Content may be delivered in text through the internet, in multimedia through interactive games, or through audio/video. A teacher is not required for content delivery. A teacher is required as students work with the content, assimilate it, judge it, evaluate it, and utilize it.

Information repositories abound, the most well-known of which is Khan Academy, which may contain video that could be used in the classroom to supplement student instruction. In addition TeacherTube and YouTube contain many videos that could deliver instruction for your students.

However, you may decide you wish to create your own content for students.

View the following videos. What did the creator do well, and what might the creator have done better? Make a list to capture the positives and the possible improvements to these videos.

Tips for Creating Content

Limit your content to a ten-minute segment (maximum!): 

Limiting delivery in this way will ensure that you have little issue uploading material and that students have no issue downloading or watching the material. In addition, categorizing (chunking) material into ten-minute segments will allow your student’s brains to naturally accommodate the information more easily than it would if the material were delivered in a fifty-minute segment.

Follow a script:

Create a script for your presentation, insuring that you fully cover the information that you wish to deliver. Remember that once this product is created parents, principals or colleagues could view or hear it – so plan accordingly!

Use purposeful visuals or just use audio:

Any visual that you use should serve the purpose of clarifying or extending information. PowerPoint outlines do not serve this purpose, and could be delivered as supplements to the video/audio.

If you are only delivering information via audio, use Audacity or Garage Band. Each of these programs are very easy to use, and once information is exported or saved to mp3 format, it may be uploaded to the web.

If you intend to use visuals, storyboard your presentation, outlining the important visuals and the point at which you will transition to them within the presentation. Collect the visuals, and organize them using your presentation tool (Google Sites, PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.) in order to make your presentation and record it with a program such asScreencastomatic or Camtasia, or import them into your movie creation software (iMovie, Camtastia, Windows MovieMaker).

Tutorials are available on any of these programs by going to YouTube and searching Program Name Tutorial (i.e. Audacity Tutorial). You will get many results which will be far more up to date and relevant to your own level of knowledge than anything I might post here :-).


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