Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wiki Wednesday #7 - Differentiated Instruction and Technology

Differentiated Instruction.  Every Teachers favorite two words.  Throw in technology, and you have probably added the next favorite word.  Putting them together might just cause a riot.  Well, luckily there is some help.  The Tech 4 Differentiated Instruction Wiki has a rather substantial list of resources, articles, and lessons for using technology with Differentiated Instruction.

The purpose of the Wiki is to gather and share resources linking Computer and Information Technology with Differentiated Instruction.  The wiki is the work of William Dolton who is a consultant and offer professional development opportunities related to Differentiated Instruction.

This Wiki is very well organized with a Table of Contents on each page.  Makes for easy surfing.  He also wants to know here visitors are from so when visiting, make sure that you mark your spot.  You can also find some useful presentations and videos used at conferences he has attended.  You can find plenty of useful resources related to content and technology.  Be a great addition if you are uding Differentiated Instruction and Technology, but have been wondering how to link them together.

Flavors.Me - A Personalized Webpage

 is a place for you to create a homepage for all your social networks.  If you are a member of any of the sites in the image below, or have a favorite RSS feed, you can add them all here.  It allows you to choose a background as well.  Not much else to it.  But it is a neat place to organize what you look at most.

Urtak - Online Poll With a Twist

A new way of doing an online polling has arrived.  With Urtak you can create a simple poll, unlimited polls in fact and embed your poll anywhere.  The twist, not only can participants answer your questions...but they can also ASK questions.  Therefore your poll becomes more interactive and they might think of a question you did not, or an answer you did not think of.

Starting is easy.  All you need is an Email and a Password.  You can also log in with your Facebook or Twitter account.  Once you create an account it creates a URL for your poll.  You type in the questions for people to answer (They can only choose between Yes, No, Don't Care).  When they visit they will see your questions as well as a place to ask a question.  You can provide a name for the poll and provide a description.  Data is instantly fed back through the poll.

I could easily see this being a useful tool with students when trying to get an idea about the success of a project using simple yes or no questions, thus giving your students a chance to ask you questions as well.  I think it will be more useful when it adds more options for answers.  Still an interesting way to get information and ideas at the same time.

PaperRater - Free Grammar Checker

What a great idea!  PaperRater is a place for students to submit work and find out about their paper.  With no download necessary.  Not only does it check grammar, but it will also check for spelling, Plagiarism, and offer writing suggestions.  It will also help with readability, word choice, and style.  The site is completely free with plans in the works for a premium version.

To use the software, all you have to do is type in the title and then copy and paste your paper into the "textbox."  It also provides a place to copy and paste your references.  I copy and pasted a paper from college as a trial.  It was over 15 pages and included references and charts.  It took a short time for it to process the long document.

The screen then allows you to sort through your paper based on Originality/Plagiarism, Spelling, Grammar, Word Choice, Style, and Vocabulary Words.  It even explains why it is saying you have done something wrong.  Spelling Corrections are in red, Grammar in Green, Word Choice in Blue.  It does a great job of breaking down your use of different conjunctions, pronouns, verbs, etc.

The only part that was confusing was the Vocabulary Words - It gives you a percentage of vocabulary word usage.  My guess is that based on the title and references the software is looking for a certain percentage of words.  As a plus, it does have a vocabulary builder to help improve your vocabulary.

I am really impressed with this software.  Something tells me AP students would really benefit.  It would also really help with Portfolios, because it recognized what Word Grammar and Spell Checker missed.