Monday, April 29, 2013

Differentiated Learning via Technology

John Traxler and Agnes Kukulska-Hulmes (2005) came up with a book entitled Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers.  Discussions on the latest mobile learning can be found in this book which you can purchase from

It is an interesting idea to be able to learn at home or at the cafe or at the park or anywhere you choose instead of having to attend a class so early in the morning and going home so late in the evening.  Mobile learning gives the learner a more flexible way of learning new knowledge. Learning taking place at any time is also preferred by most learners. The learners referred to here are young adult learners. Not all learners would be able to sit still for the whole 6 to 8 hours they are in school or any other educational institutions.

The move now is to improve on learners learning which will eventually lead to learners improved achievement.  Our world today is still pretty much exam orientated.  We base a man's worth on his qualifications.  So, paper qualification is still much preferred but it doesn't mean that we impose one way of learning to all learners.  That's where our education system fail miserably.  Look at the number of drop outs.  Look at what happen to them.  Some become society's worse nightmares while some become wealthy entreprenaurs!  How can we improve our learners learning?  What is the core of Education?

In my humble opinion, education is where a person makes meaning of the new things he learned and improves on his understanding of new ideas, then contributes new ideas and keep on learning.  However, each individual processes knowledge differently. Many teachers do not understand this because they were not taught to see their learners as different individuals.  Hence, they teach and are still teaching using a one-size-fits-all teaching method.  Even if they were told about the different individuals in their classes, they were not given sufficient examples on how to deal with differentiation.  This leads to the new teachers teaching the way they were taught.  Learners become frustrated and eventually "spiritually" left the lesson while their physical bodies remained seated in the classroom. 

So, learners process information differently. How different can it get?  Watch this video and you'll understand how different learners understand the same lesson differently.

So now we have understood the different individuals in our classroom, how do we design our lesson to help them improve their learning?  Perhaps this video would shed some light into how to address differentiation in our classroom.

Understanding that our learners are different would assist us in developing or designing lesson plans for differentiated learning. Mobile devices are technology which could improve learning in a differentiated classroom.  Watch this video of a school in the US using technology such as the laptop in their differentiated learning classroom.

Here's another video on planning process in differentiated learning.

Using technology to assist in differentiated learning or differentiated instruction speeds up the planning process for teachers and the learning process for learners.  Young adult learners could access to their modules which suit their Learning Styles using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

At the end of the day, what counts is not the technology but the understanding of what differentiated learning is all about and how technology can assist teachers/lecturers in planning their lessons for differentiated learning.