NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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K-12 Professionals

Why DI? An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction

EDUC 600




Instructor: Steve Dahl

Grading: Letter

Spring, Summer & Fall (Ongoing)

Academic Level: K-12 Professional Development

NDSU Credit Fee: $150 + Partner Course Fee: $125

Partner Class Offered Through Virtual Education Software, inc.

Course Description:

Welcome to Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, an interactive computer-based instruction course, designed to give you an understanding of the framework of and need for creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. In this course you will learn what is meant by Differentiated Instruction (DI) and the common myths associated with creating the differentiated classroom.  We will discuss the legal, theoretical, and pedagogical foundations in the field of education that support the utilization of differentiated instructional practices and principles.  We will reflect on best practices and national trends in the design of the educational setting to meet the needs of a diverse learning population.  Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction will also provide connections to a variety of concepts, variables, and resources that will assist practitioners in aligning their own professional practices with those found in the differentiated classroom.

This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.

Course Objectives:

1. Understand how differentiated instruction is defined.
2. Articulate why differentiated instruction is not a prescriptive approach.
3. Outline the major elements within a classroom that teachers typically differentiate.
4. Explain the role of curriculum and instruction in a differentiated classroom.
5. Relate ways in which differentiated instruction may be useful when creating a personal teaching philosophy.
6. Identify the core principles of classrooms reflecting a differentiated instructional approach.
7. Outline the current systems-level, theoretical, legal, and pedagogical foundation for differentiation.
8. Identify ways in which differentiated instruction compares and contrasts with specially designed instruction for students with disabilities.
9. Explain how assessment in a classroom best exemplifies a differentiated approach.
10. Articulate the primary methods for obtaining information about student interests, preferences, and overall learning profile.
11. Understand the rationale for synthesis between leading curricular design method, Understanding by Design (UBD), and the differentiated instruction approach. 
12. Distinguish elements of a differentiated approach from those of a non-differentiated, or “one size fits all” approach.
13. Articulate the range of barriers when implementing a differentiated classroom.
14. Analyze ways in which a differentiated approach addresses the role of NCLB in shaping professional practice and understanding of quality teaching.
15. Understand the systemic pressures placed upon teachers and ways in which differentiation helps re-focus attention on the needs of students.
16. Outline a framework for motivating all students in a way that is respectful, student-centered, and reflective of a differentiated approach.
17. Relate to differentiated instruction’s concept of reciprocity of accountability for success of both teachers and students.
18. Articulate how the current emphasis on teacher beliefs about learning and dispositions toward students are embraced within a differentiated approach.
19. Articulate barriers that exist for those who are genuinely interested in implementing a differentiated approach.
20. Articulate the role of the teacher, student, and parents in a differentiated classroom.
21. Articulate the ways in which administrators can support teachers who are implementing a differentiated classroom.
22. Discuss an expanded concept of diversity and learner variance to which teachers must respond.
23.  Identify characteristics of and initial strategies for creating a culturally responsive approach to student diversity.
24. Assess current understanding of and willingness to implement a classroom aligned with differentiated instructional approach.

View Complete Syllabus

Course Materials:

Title:               Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction
Author:           Steve  Dahl, M.Ed.
Publisher:       Virtual Education Software, inc. 2011
Instructor:      Steve Dahl, M.Ed.

Effective September 1, 2014, cost for this course will be $285

Special Instructions:

VESi will no longer offer the CD-ROM option after August 30, 2014

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