One of my favorite times of the year is Fall—and not just because of the change in seasons! Every year I get the honor to present at Georgia’s Fall Adult Education Conference. I’ve been attending for the past five years, and it is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
The conference is designed to provide educators, administrators and partners an opportunity to learn from national presenters on a variety of topics. This year, I decided to focus on two things: Differentiation in Multi-Level Classrooms and Technology Integration under WIOA.
First, let’s talk about differentiation. Planning for instruction that is appropriately student focused and meets the needs of a diverse classroom can be challenging. I first explored what differentiation is and isn’t in order to create a common language to use during the workshop. I introduced the “Mother of Differentiation” Carol Ann Tomlinson and her book: How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms. If you have not read this book yet and you are in education in any capacity, I highly recommend doing so. From there, I introduced three ways to differentiate lessons: by content, process, or product, and then we explored a decision flow chart that can assist in deciding exactly when and how to differentiate. We ended the workshop by reviewing actual differentiated lessons and reviewing resources such as Learning Menus and Choice Boards as a means for differentiation. It was really valuable to see the educators get ideas, become vulnerable and engage in conversations about their own professional growth.
My technology workshop was up against several others in this conference, and while those workshops focused on sharing either “10 tools” or specific resources, my workshop really pushed to change educators thought process with regard to technology integration. Typically, educators asked me “How can I integrate technology in this lesson?” However, that is the wrong question! Technology is not something that needs to be integrated, it is naturally and seamlessly integrated in everything we do! So the question really is “How does technology naturally align to this lesson?” Once we flipped our thought process we dove into WIOA requirements and I provided them with five specific areas that they need in order to be building digital literacy. Students should be able to FIND information using technology, EVALUTE the credibility of both what they find and available technology options, ORGANIZE using technology, CREATE using technology, and COMMUNICATE using technology. We revisited original technology ideas for alignment to the WIOA requirements and then explored specific tools that support and align to those WIOA requirements. I introduced them to the Padagogy Wheel as a resource to align lessons to the appropriate level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, we used QR codes to access resources, and Google Tools for group work assignments. Educators left the workshop with a clearer vision for technology in the age of WIOA and tools to support future approaches.
It was such a pleasure to share these workshops with Georgia’s educators and I look forward to the Spring when I get to visit with them again. If you have any questions about either of these topics or EDSI’s work providing professional development to educators please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.