Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction
Instructor Name: Steve Dahl
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday – Friday
Address: Virtual Education Software
16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450
Spokane, WA 99216
Technical Support: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, an interactive computer-based instruction course, designed to give you an understanding of the framework of and need for creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. In this course you will learn what is meant by Differentiated Instruction (DI) and the common myths associated with creating the differentiated classroom. We will discuss the legal, theoretical, and pedagogical foundations in the field of education that support the utilization of differentiated instructional practices and principles. We will reflect on best practices and national trends in the design of the educational setting to meet the needs of a diverse learning population. Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction will also provide connections to a variety of concepts, variables, and resources that will assist practitioners in aligning their own professional practices with those found in the differentiated classroom.
This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.
Course Materials (Either Online or CD-Rom)
Title: Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction
Instructor: Steve Dahl, M.Ed.
Publisher: Virtual Education Software, inc. 2011
Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.
Aiding Honesty in Others
The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.
Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.
Level of Application
This course is designed for anyone working with a diverse learning population across the K-12 spectrum. While the information presented may have relevance to any student-centered educational setting, it will have the most relevance for K-8 mixed ability classrooms.
This course, Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, has been divided into four chapters. The organization of the course covers the What, Why, and Who of a classroom that reflects a Differentiated Instruction approach.
Chapter 1: The What of Differentiated Instruction
Chapter 2: The Why of Differentiated Instruction (Part 1)
Chapter 3: The Why of Differentiated Instruction (Part 2)
Chapter 4: The Who of Differentiated Instruction
In Chapter 1, we outline what a differentiated instructional approach entails. A framework for those elements that are typically differentiated in a differentiated classroom is provided. Characteristics and principles that best describe the DI approach across the K-12 spectrum are outlined. General considerations of what DI is not, or common misconceptions associated with the DI approach, are also considered. Attention is given to ways in which the differentiated approach aligns with current expectations of professionals and anticipated needs for classrooms in the future.
In Chapter 2, we explore why the differentiated approach is receiving so much attention. The historical, theoretical, systems-level, legal, and pedagogical factors that provide a supporting framework for implementing a differentiated instructional approach are defined. The role that instruction and assessment play in a differentiated classroom are discussed within a context of what are currently believed to be optimal learning conditions for students. A synthesis of ways in which differentiated instruction and “Understanding by Design” (UBD) mutually reinforce each other is provided.
In Chapter 3, we explore a range of variables in support of the alignment of the differentiated approach with the needs of professionals, the needs associated with educational reform in general, and ultimately the needs of individual students. Particular attention is given to the role of teacher beliefs and dispositions toward students within a differentiated model. A metaphor for differentiated instruction is explored which reinforces a reciprocal responsibility for both teachers and students for creating the conditions for mutual success. The orientation of teachers to student failure within a differentiated approach is discussed. Barriers that exist for teachers desiring to implement a differentiated approach are explored.
In Chapter 4, we explore who is involved in a differentiated classroom and how this approach differs from many traditional classrooms. Clarification of the roles of the teacher, students, and administrators in a differentiated instruction classroom are provided. The skills, interests, dispositions, and goals of course participants are explored within the framework of a differentiated approach. Barriers to the implementation of a differentiated approach are explored, allowing for discussion of your particular role or context in education, the kind of school system you function in, and the degree to which you would identify yourself as a teacher who differentiates.
Each chapter contains additional handouts that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth. They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the setting in which you work. Some of the handouts are directly related to the concepts and content of the specific chapter, but also included are handouts indirectly related to provide extended learning connections.
As a student, you will be expected to:
· Complete all information chapters, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.
· Complete all chapter exams, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.
· Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.
· Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
· Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.
· Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
At the end of each course section, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate. However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed. Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.
This course has two required writing components. ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE REVIEWED. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy noted in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.
It is highly recommended that you write and save all writing assignments in an external word processing program (such as Word or Notepad), and then copy and paste these into the course program so that you will have backup copies.
To save your essays:
When you select the question or article you wish to respond to, ‘Simple Text’ or ‘Text Edit’ will launch automatically. When you are finished entering your response, simply click SAVE.
You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.
1) Essay Requirement: Critical Thinking Questions
There are four Critical Thinking Questions that you must complete. You will do research on the questions and write brief essay responses relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences, when possible). To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay. You must write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you have completed your edits.
You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.
2) Essay Requirement: Journal Articles
This task requires you to write a review of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (blogs and news articles are not acceptable) of your choice on a topic related to this course. You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.). You may also access www.scholar.google.com, www.findarticles.com or www.edarticle.com to search for relevant professional articles. Or simply type into your finder "free education articles" and numerous sites will be displayed. Choose three relevant articles and write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your review with your thoughts and impressions (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum). Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article. Grades on summaries are reduced if not properly cited.
To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE. You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.
You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.
Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction has been developed with the widest possible audience in mind because the core principles of a differentiated approach can be applied to K-12. The primary goal of the course is to provide both an accurate overview of the approach as well as an opportunity for reflection to professionals who are interested in assessing how their current practice does, or doesn’t, align with a differentiated one. Steve Dahl, the instructor of record, has served as a district-level administrator overseeing a
variety of federal programs, such as Special Education and Title 1, for the past 5 years. He has a Master's Degree in Special Education and has completed post-Master’s coursework to obtain a Washington State Administrator Credential which certifies him to oversee programs ranging from Preschool settings through 12th grade (as well as post-secondary vocational programs for 18-21 year old students). He has 17 years of combined experience in resource-room special education classrooms, inclusion support in a comprehensive high school, and provision of support to adults with disabilities in accessing a wide range of community settings.
You may contact the instructor by emailing Steve at email@example.com or calling him at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.
If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.
If you need personal assistance then email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (509) 891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.
Minimum Computer Requirements
Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.
Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.
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Updated 10/24/13 JN