Best Practice 2.0

Differentiated Instruction &
Effective Instructional Technology Integration

What is Best Practice 2.0?

Best practice is best practice is best practice. Effective instruction is about applying practical and relevant teaching strategies that are research based and have been proven to work. It can take on many names and formats, call it what you want, but it always ends up coming out the same. In my 20 years as an educator and innovator, I have learned that teaching is truly about the simplest concepts, engaging learners, providing structure and guidance, setting reasonable goals and expectations in order to achieve desired outcomes while ensuring acceptable academic success. Instructional practices require ongoing exploration and an evolution of skills and strategies. We need to stay current our outdatedness or complacency is intolerable. We must remain committed to our oath as educators.Continue to evolve with your students, don’t fear the unknown, embrace learning and growth. Model life long learning!

Teaching and learning should also be about having fun! If it isn’t fun anymore, then it’s time for self reflection and analysis. Ask yourself; is this truly where I want to be? If yes, then don’t let change in practice stand in your way of your personal and professional growth. Grow with IT. Teaching should and must remain about the needs of our 21st Century children. We must not lose focus on the those that need us to be ready to meet them where they are. Learn with today’s students. They will appreciate that you are doing learning with them and not teaching at them. Do you remember your favorite and least favorite teachers? Which one of them are you?

All Education leaders need to read this!! – Defining a 21st Century Education

How Do We Change?

Some of the most difficult things for teachers to do while attempting to integrate new technology is trying to find the time, resources, support and skill sets in order to effectively make the change. This site has been created to provide teachers with some simple and more complex integration strategies to help differentiate best instructional practices. I hope that you can use some of these ideas and find that you can build, tweak, personalize and customize instruction based on your learners. Feel free to comment ask questions, or make suggestions. I will do my best to clarify and provide you with tools and effective strategies.

I encourage you to read the latest US Department of Education Report that speaks to the need for change and the effective integration of technology innovations in today’s current and future instructional practices and learning experiences

Resources for Best Practice

Where Can You Begin Differentiating?

I. Multiple Intelligences

Identify your learners in your audience. How do we learn? Read this excerpt from Multiple Intelligences and Instructional Technolgy.

  1. Kidzmetjen – An amazing MI student profiler. Create personalized learning and curriculum!! A++++
  2. Take the Test!!! Learn how You Learn.
  3. Another Fun MI Test
  4. Brain Test- find out how you learn and use it!
  5. Technology Makes Differentiation Practical MCREL Blog 12/04/09

How do you rate your technological literacy; a preliterate, technorat, technotraditionalist, or a technoconstructivist? Read here to find out what level you are on and where you can be.

How Will The Learners Build Knowledge?

I. Constructivism Approach

Constructivist Approach to Learning – allow students to construct knowledge by examining, exploring, explaining and creating their own knowledge. Check out the lesson plan format the 5 E’s are important components in the constructivist instructional approach.

II. Understanding By Design Approach

Differentiating instruction is about developing varied curriculum that better meets the needs of every learner.

Curriculum should be differentiated in three areas:

  1. Content: Multiple options for taking in information
  2. Process: Multiple options for making sense of the ideas
  3. Product: Multiple options for expressing what they know

III. Universal Design for Learning – 3 Core Principles
  • Principle I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation,
  • Principle II. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression
  • Principle III. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
UDL Resources

What was your transformative moment in teaching? Do you really know your students?

How To Assess Learning?

Blooms Taxonomy Revised!!

Let’s not forget about higher and lower order thinking skills. Review the chart created to assist with building instruction that reaches all levels of learning!

Download this template to assist you with building sound DI strategies that enhance a classroom full of diverse learners!

Based on the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligence and Blooms Matrix – btmi matrix

Performance Based Tests are true representations of student knowledge and skill application – Watch the video below for a great example of what needs to be done in the 21st Century classroom.

The Non-negotiables For Differentiated Instruction
  1. Supportive Environments – meet the needs of all learners. Levels, styles and readiness.
  2. Ongoing (formative) Assessment – identify and assess knowledge, skills through student products.
  3. Quality Curriculum – based on standards, benchmarks, 21st Century Skills.
  4. Respectful Tasks – respect for the individual learning needs.
  5. Flexible Grouping – grouping based on student interests, levels, and learning styles.

Learning Styles or Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner’s work with Multiple Intelligences is critical to the development of effective DI practices. Identify your learners. Use a learning style inventory to find out how your students learn best. Teach to the learner style not the test.

  1. Take the Test!!! Learn how You Learn.
  2. Another Fun MI Test Fun interactive for learning how you and your students learn!
  3. Take another quick inventory – short and sweet inventory

****Dr. Robert Sternberg’s**** theories on Intelligences focus on three areas.

View the interactive map of human Intelligence maps.

  1. Analytical
  2. Practical
  3. Creative

Meyers Briggs Personality Types in Learning

  • Myers Briggs Foundation- How can one’s personality affect the way we learn and achieve? Learn more about creating lessons with these personality types.
  • Take the Chung Personality Test Try this one to compare results
  • Jane Kise- An amazing set or resources for building instruction that works for students with varying personalities. Learn how to differentiate based on the MBPT
    • Resources for DI
  • Personality Pathways – a site full of descriptions about Myers Briggs Personality types and indications for learning and careers.

Research Based Practices That Work

****Dr. Robert Marzano’s**** work in educational reform, practical instructional practices that work and curriculum development has had profound impacts on instructional practices and educational reform intitiatives worldwide. These resources will assist you with the development of instruction that works.

Addressing the Digital Learners Needs and Literacies

Assessing Effective Differentiated Integration Strategies based on NETSUse ISTE‘s new tool Classroom Observation Tool – ICOT, to measure teacher NETS and integration strategies. Provides qualitative and quantitative ed tech data and feedback. Observation forms are free and can be disaggregated at ISTE‘s site so that collected data can be used to evaluate teacher, school, or district use of technology in teaching based on 2008 Teacher NETS. ICOT- a free tool to assist you with you levels of integration.

What are the 6 Identified Areas of Instruction? Student NETS
  1. Setting – who, what, when and where?
  2. Room Description – describe room or learning environment
  3. Grouping- student groups or pairing
    1. Levels of Engagement
    2. Integration components – content and effectiveness
  4. NETS – identifies standards covered during instruction
  5. Chart – timeliness of technology use during instruction (identify use every 3 minutes)

What Are 21st Century Skills?

21st Century Skills – 21st Century instruction practices should reflect current societal trends in the ongoing digital evolution. Educational institutions can not afford to wait or ignore the instructional changes that are necessary for reaching the digital natives who contnune to sit unengaged in outdated classroom environments. Identify the skills necessary for students to be productive and successful participants in our ever changing 21st Century World.


  • Route 21
  • The Gateway for 21st Century Skills
  • Framework for 21st Century Skills
  • enGauge – Metri Group Resources
  • The 21st Century Classroom What should it Look Like? It’s an ad, but a great classroom design.
  • Gateway to 21st Century Skills by state
  • LoTILevels of Technology Integration
    • “The LoTi Framework focuses on the delicate balance between instruction, assessment, and the effective use of digital tools and resources to promote higher order thinking, engaged student learning and authentic assessment practices in the classroom–all vital characteristics of 21st Century teaching and learning.”
  • 21st Century Standards: Located at Route 21.
  • Focus on 21st century skills, content knowledge and expertise.
  • Build understanding across and among core subjects as well as 21st century interdisciplinary themes
  • Emphasize deep understanding rather than shallow knowledge
  • Engage students with the real world data, tools, and experts they will encounter in college, on the job, and in life–students learn best when actively engaged in solving meaningful problems
  • Allow for multiple measures of mastery

Differentiated Integrated Instructional Strategies that Will Engage learners

“Provide them a Choice and They will find their Voice!”

Integrate Reliable Relevant Online Resources – Google Apps

It’s not secret that I am a huge Google fan and believe that Google will continue to lead the way in online opportunities and inovations. There are many ways to integrate Google applications into daily educational practices. Many people don’t even realize that Google is more than a great search engine. I hope these resources help when trying to integrate. Google For Educators Google Apps Get Google Apps for your school Domain, Google Groups – join a google group and connect Google Sites – create a great looking website.

Strategies That Work

I. Note taking and Collaboration Strategies

A. Note-Taking

Instead of writing notes for students to copy, allow them to to read content information and build note pages with interactive and collaborative notetaking tools listed on the Resource Page. Students can work individually or in small collaborative groups in order to complete and submit note page web links. Have them share their note page links with you for evaluation and discusion. Open the pages and view with and LCD projection for large group discussions. Google Notes, Zoho Notebook, Writeboard, Webnote and Scriblink are my favorites for this type of activity.

B. Concept Maps

Instead of buying Inspiration or Kidspiration have try some of these tools. Students will be able to work on these outiside of school since they are web based. When learning new information for the first time concept maps or diagrams to classify and categorize the information work great. Try using the concept mapping tools on the resource page to allow students to build original contextual concept maps. They can save and share those with you when completed. (Drawanywhere, Mindmeister,and Mind42 are my favorites.)

C. Timelines

Create online interactive timelines about specific historical or current events. Create, store and share these during or after class. Allows for collaborative and productive interactive experiences. Mywebspiration, xtimeline, dipity- create free online timeline generators.

II. Cooperative Groups and Collaboration

A. Group Papers or Presentations

You can use almost all of the listed links on the resource page for collaboration, but ones that would be easy for your students to create and share would be Google and Zoho. I like Google since it allows for chatting on files and sharing final products.

B. Small Group Discussions

1. Have students use chat or discussion forums to discuss topics in class. Simple chat gadgets allow for instant classroom discussions and interaction. Discussion forums can be found in Wikispaces and Moodle while chat gadgets can be embedded into web pages and blogs. Check some of these out. Palbe Geesee Yaplet .

2. Resources that allow students to comment on graphics, videos, presentations and other online curricular content can also be used to enhance further classroom discussions. Try using Nota, Voicethread and Zoho Notebooks for uploading images, video, audio and allowing students to comment online in a discussion format.

3. How about a free video chat room for kids when working in class. Try Tinychat or Google Hangouts Grab an instant room or create a private room for class.

4. Use a discussion forum in a wiki or a online classroom environment. Wikispaces and Moodle allow for more interactive discussions.

5. Live online discussions – Coveritlive – embed the chat tool into your wiki or website. Students can share and discuss topics.

C. Comparative Charts or Graphic Organizing

While students gather and diseminate new information it would be useful to inetgrate graphic organizers, concept maps, or other notetaking strategies to help them organize and categorize the new information. Graphic organizers can be used and created in various ways so give the students the freedom to explore and create maps that they would find useful to their learning. Drawanywhere Exploretree two Classtools – great resources for this type of activity.

D. Integrating RSS Feeds and Agregators

Students conducting research and collecting information can use RSS feeds from many sites and read them in Google Reader or Bloglines or any other RSS agregator. RSS feeds can also be used by the teacher to identify when wikis and student work is updated. Subscribe to your students’ blogs and wikipages and you will be notified when they are updated. Nice for assignment due dates and timelines.

  • Have students create an account for an rss aggregator such as Bloglines, Google, Netvibes and Diigo. Once they have created the account students can add RSS feeds links to specific online news sites, blogs, and your classroom note pages that you create. A great way to get them interested in reading is allowing them to explore sports news, current events news, technology news, and more. Make sure that they subscribe to feeds that you want them to and then allow them to explore for others in areas where they are interested. They will read and actually enjoy it and the freedom that you allow.

III. Experiments, Tutorials and Demonstrations


Allow students time to create training tutorials for content skills. They will enjoy being the leaders and teachers. Use screen captuting software if content is computer based. Screencast-o-matic or Jing – record your screen and export movies or media casts. Download Camtasia 3.1. Get the serial # for Camtasia 3.1.3 Camstudio – create and capture your desktop on the PC Copernicusfor Macs.

B. Live Broadcast Demonstrations – Use webcams or video cameras and stream the demonstrations live via the internet. or Vuvoxprivate channels can be used for privacy.

C. Digital Storytelling or Demos – use a digital camera and multimedia tools to build interactive audio visual demonstrations. Onetruemedia, Voicethread,Splashcast, Mixbook

D. Online Simulations and an interactive white board to demonstrate simple or complex concepts in Science and Math. The hands-on practice and interactive visuals will provide effective reinforcement of concepts and skills. PhET, Explorelearning, WISE.

IV. Reading Strategies for the Non-Reader

A. Podcasts – Some students just don’t like to read do they? How about having them read aloud into a private podcast channel so that they can play it back at a later time. Podcast channels Gab, Blogamp, Clickcaster, Vuvox.

B. Blogging – Blog before, during and after reading. Also offer students the opportunity to blog their responses on a blog such as an audio and video blog. Blogcheese, evoca

C. Multimedia – Have students build a interactive multimedia notebook while reading do this at Zoho Notebook. Students can add text, images, audio and video of themselves discussing the reading selections.

D. Audio Books – Students who like to listen and read can visit sites that provide audio books. Storyline, Librivox, Learnoutloud Audiobookradio

E. Grapic Organizers – Use graphic organizers to build comprehension and extend thinking. Classtools

F. RSS – allow students time to read online. Allow them to use RSS feed aggregators to read what they enjoy and share their thoughts, findings and learning in written or verbal formats. Bloglines, Google, Netvibes and Diggo

G. Multimedia – create interactive audio and video activities for students reading to follow their levels of reading progress. Audacity, Movie Maker, iMovie, voicethread, ustream, evoca, onetruemedia

V. Summarizing Strategies with Podcasts and Digital Media Integration

A. Podcasts – podcasting can be a great way for students to reinforce newly learned concepts and skills. Have students use some podcasting resources to record their new knowledge, ask questions, make suggestions or provide concept extension. These online resources can help. Gcast, Gabcast, Evoca, Splashcastmedia.

VI. Constructivist Presentations and Multimedia Integration

A. Video Producion and Collaboration – Students love to create multimedia projects for content. Try some of these sites to allow for multimedia projects. Kaltura allows you to upload video and edit with other people. Jumpcut Jaycut and Voicethread Onetremedia are great resources for creating videos and interactive online multimedia. If you have a Mac, offer an opportunity for students to use iMovie and if using a PC, allow for Movie Maker to be used.

B. Creative Poster Presentations – Instead of using a piece of poster board, use Wix, or Nota to have students create interactive online poster boards.

C. Presentations – Use online open resources for students to create accessible and embeddable PowerPoint like presentations. Use Google and Zoho Presentations and 280Slides- a really cool presentation tool, publish directly to slideshare. Prezentit and Empressor- simple pres. tools

VII. Project Based Learning

How do we get our students to construct knowledge? Building and creating are the highest levels of thinking so what are we doing to get our students to create and build? By allowing students to work on projects independently or cooperatively, we are providing them with the opportunities to grow deeper levels of understanding and more comprehensive skill sets. Visit some of these sites below to help get you started with PBL and check out some of the resources that you can use to get them to build and learn creatively.

VIII. Vocabulary Building Strategies

  • Frayer Vocab Diagram
  • Word Pictures -
  • Visual Word Diagrams

IX. Web Quests & Web Design

A. WebQuests – Create or use webquests to have students work collaboratively together to achieve specific goals. This site it the best resource out there for integration of webquests. Download the WQ Templateto build and integrate group and individual webquest activities.

B. Web Site Design – Students love to share, why not have them create an interactive website where they can add content and manage the site design. Create site rubrics in order to establish content, navigation, and syle requirements for the sites. This is a great way to provide authentic assessment of skill mastery. Google Sites- Easy and great for site collaboration and building. Webnode- great design, easy to use and deveolop nice looking web sites. Weebly- very easy, nice templates and format. Freewebs- totally free, simple to use. Doodlekit- one of the easiest to use. Roxer- simple tool for nice looking web sites.

X. Writing Activities


A. Writing PromptsDiscovery has excellent resources for writing prompts. Visit and allow students to respond to images and videos.

UseTruetubeto get students thinking and debating contraversial topics.

B. Blogging – Allow students time to blog about their learning and ideas. WordPress, Blogger

C. Ebooks – Students can create online books and share them with you online. Tikatok, Kerpoof, Book Builder, LuluMixbook

D. Wikis – Allow students to design and collaborate on wikis and discussions within the wiki sites. Wikispaces and Wetpaint are my top 2 picks

E. Desktop Publishing – create brochures, newsletters, presentations – letterpop


Sample Mixbook By Michael






XI. Creating Wall-Less Classroom Environments

Create an extension of your classroom. Allow your students time access their classroom environments outside of the classroom. They will continue to be engaged and interactive as they collaborate and build.

A. Interactive Online Classroom Environments – build content in an online portal for student access 24/7. – Moodle, Ning, Wikispaces, Wetpaint udutu

B. Global Connections – meet, collaborate, share with other teachers and students from around the world. ePals, CAPSpace, Classroom 2.0, Taking IT Global, CILC OneWorld Classrooms

C. Mobile Classroom connections – use of cell phones to stay connected. Polleverywhere for polls, quipiq – photo to pdf mofo – subscribe to a blog


XII. Tools for Assessing Student Learning


Rubrics and checklists will be necessary to assess student learning and products. This site is one of the best that I have found when designing effective project rubrics and timelines. Myt4l

Other Assessment Strategies can also be utilized and implemented. Try some of these interactive tools while checking for understanding.

  • Mystudio – create interactive online assessments and analyze the data
  • Teach-nology- For rubrics, but you can create a ton of resources here.
  • ThatQuiz – online classroom and quiz generator
  • ProProfs – create and share online exams and flash cards, provides instant feedback
  • Hot Potatoes – can be uploaded to Moodle
  • Qedoc- download and install interactive quiz player game and quiz maker software
  • Discovery – Teacher Tools
  • 4Teachers free 60 day trial
  • Knowtes – create interactive note cards for practice and review



Dale’s Cone of Experience

  1. Learning takes place based on experiences with topics. Check this ppt. to view how best to instruct students.
  2. Cone of Learning
  3. Linking Computer Literacies to the Cone of Learning



More Resources


  1. CAST – Universal Design for Learning
  2. Education World – 20 Strategies for Integration
  3. Research Based Practices
  4. Learning Theories
  5. I4C Resources for Differentiated Instruction
  6. Edutopia – Technology Integration
  7. Dr. Vera Blake – a Differentiation Expert!!! Her professional development and sense of humor will assist with bringing the most resistent teachers on board when developing effective Differentiated
  8. ASCD – Professional Development
  9. Microsoft’s Integrated Lesson Plans
  10. Microsoft’s Teacher Center









Orginal Works Not Contributed by Members are Copyright 2008 Cheryl Capozzoli

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