Digital Differentiation as a Form of Pedagogical Creativity

Digital Differentiation as a Form of Pedagogical Creativity

Aysin Kaplan Sayı
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8287-9.ch007
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The goal of this chapter is to explain differentiation and digital differentiation and their intersecting points with pedagogical creativity, which become a necessity for 21st century teachers. In regards to pedagogical creativity, three main elements, which are creative teaching, teaching for creativity, and creative learning, will be discussed. Differentiation techniques and digital differentiation tools used for digitalizing in-class techniques will be explained. Further, an example of a digitally differentiated lesson plan will also be presented as a guide for teachers that require it.
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The new era has brought about major shifts regarding expectations from learners in that they are assumed to gain and effectively show 21st century skills. Accordingly, the role teachers play has also changed dramatically, requiring them to be more knowledgeable, flexible, and innovative, showing expertise in their areas of teaching as well as being pedagogically creative (McWilliam, & Dawson, 2008). Especially, with the introduction and widespread adoption of distance and online learning platforms, teachers are seeking new ways to teach, adapt their techniques digitally and individualize teaching processes according to students’ needs. That is, teachers are to make effective use of online or distance learning tools and during the teaching process, offer an engaging, enjoyable, and effective learning environment. In order to achieve this goal, they must consider and address students’ individual needs (Ascough, 2002).

Particularly in virtual learning environments, failure to properly address learners’ needs may result in their loss of interest. Therefore, teachers should be interested in technology, have the knowledge of appropriate digital tools, and make use of differentiation strategies. One significant benefit of differentiation is that it provides teachers with increased awareness of students’ varying needs and strengths, thereby allowing for better instruction. Additionally, focusing on learning environment creates a better learning context and paying attention to students’ readiness helps address students’ needs and allows for academic growth (Standford, Crowe, & Flice, 2010). By using differentiation and digital differentiation, it is possible to appropriately meet learners’ individual needs. Many studies indicate a significant achievement gap regarding different age groups (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2006; Mead, 2008), gender (Conger & Long, 2010; Malinauskiene,Vosylis, & Zukauskiene, 2011), socio-economic status (Lubienski, 2008; Reardon, 2018), giftedness (Ford, 2006; Lovelace, 2008), and ethnicity (Cooper & Schleser, 2006). In order to be able to address and bridge this gap, one approach can be digital differentiation, which also requires teachers to be pedagogically creative. “Pedagogical creativity” has a broad application in a variety of settings. A creative pedagogue employs creative strategies when instructing and designing curricula, even when creativity is not one of the explicit learning outcomes of the lesson. ‘’Pedagogical creativity’’ means being unusual, productive, and effective in teaching by using the most appropriate techniques and methods. It requires teachers who are adaptive, idealist, hypercritical, elaborative and open to new experiences (Abramo &Reynolds, 2015).

In line with the background presented above, this chapter attempts to introduce;

  • Concepts relevant within the context of differentiation and digital differentiation,

  • Digital differentiation approach and pedagogical creativity,

  • Digital differentiation tools,

  • Ways to foster the acquisition of 21st century skills by using digital differentiation,

  • Digital differentiation practices in education as a form of pedagogical creativity.

Key Terms in this Chapter

21st Century Skills: The skills set which is formed in three dimension such as life skills, literacy skills and life skills.

Digital Differentiation Tools: Websites, blogs, Web 2.0 tools, or other digital materials that can used in digital differentiated instruction.

Creative Teaching: Teaching in a creative way which refers to the teachers’ use of imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting, engaging, exciting and effective.

Teaching for Creativity: Teaching by using creative thinking techniques, developing learners’ abilities such as fluency, flexibly, originality and elaboration as well as forming an environment that make learners curious and motivated.

Differentiation: The process of adjusting the instruction according to students’ readiness, interest and learning profiles. This adjusting is carried out in the different elements of the curriculum: content, process, and product.

Pedagogical Creativity: It is the adaptation of teachers both with their behaviors and with the pedagogy they apply which has three aspects; creative teaching, teaching for creativity and creative learning.

Digital Differentiation: An approach using digital materials and tools for facilitating the instruction based on students’ needs.

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