Giving Compass' Take:

• Wendy McMahon at EdSurge, interviews Dorseyville Middle School teacher Cathie Gillner, on how differentiated learning can help students understand and remember educational concepts. 

• How can teachers intertwine other learning styles into differentiated learning? 

• Here are three ways technology can help teachers differentiate learning. 

“Differentiation can take hours and hours and hours, but I’ve found a super-efficient way to differentiate well,” enthuses Dorseyville Middle School teacher Cathie Gillner.

So what’s her secret, and how can you replicate it? It’s BrainPOP.

Concepts are sticking because these tools give students the ability to create in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Originally popular with educators for its ability to explain tough topics through engaging movies and quizzes, the well-known resource has amped up its offering since launching 20 years ago. Now Gillner says new coding, concept mapping and video-creation tools make it easy for her to differentiate learning—something she’s been doing for the last five years.

Here, Gillner shares how easy access to differentiation tools saves time, empowers her students to learn concepts more deeply and helps learning stick.

EdSurge: What does differentiation look like in your classroom?

Cathie Gillner: Say I’m teaching a digital citizenship concept. There is an assignment builder, almost like a menu board, where I can specifically outline the pathway I think a student should follow in BrainPOP.

Everything is tailored to where students are in their learning, and that makes my students feel very, very special. And concepts are sticking because these tools give students the ability to create in a way that’s meaningful to them. And as a teacher, it was only five clicks to get that done, so it was an efficient way to differentiate.

How does your approach to differentiation make knowledge sticky for students?

It’s the creation. We could just watch a video and talk about it, but when you add a creation piece that is fun and engaging, that's when concepts stick with kids. Students slow down, think about a concept and demonstrate what they’re learning when they create a concept map, or make a movie, or code to create a game. So, they retain it.

Read the full article about differentiation in learning by Wendy McMahon at EdSurge.