Susan Hopewell


EDUC 4351: Differentiation in the Elementary School Classroom

While this class (Differentiation) has been taught previously, it is new to me. I see a lot of room for improvement. Given that, I’ve decided to act as if it’s never been taught. I want to re-design it before examining the existing syllabus in-depth, then return to the current syllabus to see if there is anything I need to include. It’s very freeing to have this opportunity while enjoying a bit (small bit!) of less scheduled time during the summer.
I’m a complete neophyte when it comes to technology. Nearly everything we experienced was new to me. I think I am good at encouraging creative approaches to assignments; however, until now, this creativity was sans technology. The only exception was trying Wikis this past semester. After seeing Patty’s work, I realize that what we did was woefully inadequate!
This week has awakened me to some ideas that I want to keep in front of me:
● Threshold Concepts & Bottlenecks
● Peter Elbow’s notion of “The Believing Game & The Doubting Game”
● The conceptual idea of following passions and allowing the space for ‘collective’ interest pursuit.

My greatest needs:
● Effective tools to engage students when I cannot be present for class
● An easily accessible & private site that both B1 & B2 students can access

I see some of the tools we’ve experienced this week as means to foster shared leadership. I cannot be the authority on all topics, so I would like to establish a WordPress Blog site in which we can share expertise. On the one hand, it will be a place to share resources; on the other it has the potential to allow us to have extended and thoughtful discussions related to the readings (I am fundamentally opposed to simply regurgitating the readings, yet I see the need for more discussion than I typically allow.) The Blog seems to provide a platform to mediate this tension.

I already have two posts up that will require student response (Category = required response): (1) a word cloud developed from last year’s syllabus in which I ask students to “Analyze this word cloud. What can you determine about the intent of this course? What do you perceive is missing? How does this match (or not!) your expectations for the course?” & (2) A quote from the Thomas & Brown for responses. One will be done in class (to get us on the Blog). The other will be a homework assignment. Both will happen the first week of class.
I am fascinated by the possibilities, but haven’t yet decided how best to incorporate them (beyond the Blog idea shared above.

I will embed Camtasia videos into the WordPress to augment class work. I especially like the idea of using it to upload information regarding assignment completion.

My biggest worry is security (HIPPA/FERPA).

In keeping with the theme of shared leadership, I want the students to become experts on a topic of choice and to use a digital platform to share that expertise.
For example:
Identify and become an expert in an area of your choice (ADD, Autism Spectrum, Bilingualism, Giftedness, etc.) You may complete this project individually or work collectively with others of shared interest. Choose the digital platform in which to organize/present/filter/dissiminate the information (Wiki, social network page, YouTube presentation, Digital Storyboard etc). Be comprehensive. Feel free to incorporate personal narrative, creative responses (song, poetry, etc.). Use your imagination, make it meaningful and useful. Incorporate images, text, links, etc.
Don’t like the existing platforms? Invent a new one! Create an app! Set your own learning goals/objectives. The only requirement is that it be made accessible to your peers in this class.
Encourage students to:
● Ask lots of questions
● Explain the state of current knowledge
● Identify great sources for information
● Share questions that still need to be explored
● Be transparent regarding their modes of inquiry
Share not only what they learned, but where they located the information. 


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