This week we learned about using book-builders and Kurzweil. There are clear advantages to using both of these technologies. Mainly, it is a form of differentiated learning made simple. Resources are now available for teachers to create different opportunities for learners. Building a book, for one, is a great example. I am currently teaching a 6th grade class and we are discussing short stories. I can, and plan to, make a book builder about story flow. The students are learning about different elements of story flow: hook, rising action, climax, declining action and resolution. I thought: wouldn't it be great to have a short story put into a book form that also addressed the story flow elements? For example, in one story there are paragraphs of rising action. So, I could have a page of a book be one paragraph, and then in another section of the same page explain how that paragraph is contributing to the rising action. This helps make the link clearer to the students. Additionally, it removes me from explaining the elements and them discovering it for themselves.
Additionally, I believe Kurzweil can be beneficial to a spectrum of students. Again, I think it would be beneficial to make a kurzweil reading of a story available for my students so that they can revisit the story and make notes or highlight portions they found interesting. For example, I am trying to teach student to look for contextual clues as to what an unfamiliar vocabulary word means. Together, as a class, with a Kurzweil document we could highlight words that hint to a word's definition.
I thoroughly enjoy learning about these new technologies that, like I said earlier, offer differential learning so easily. My school is very supportive of new technology and encouraging students to become familiar with technologies, particularly ones that further their education. I will be sure to let you all know how the students respond to these form of differentiated learning.