This paper will analyze how to analyze differentiated instruction through the need, process, and drawbacks from implementing blended learning during a class through the means of station rotation in order to incorporate differentiation of instruction with the goal of meeting the needs of all students in the heterogeneous educational setting. This paper will notably draw from educational research across the globe, in order to avoid excluding relevant information from countries outside of America. This paper will analyze what differentiated learning actually entails while highlighting the various methods for implementation, as well as those methods’ effectiveness and feasibility. This paper will also define blended learning and methods for applying this teaching strategy in the classroom. This paper will highlight the importance of using station rotation to facilitate the implementation of both blended learning and differentiated instruction (DI), while analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of a heterogeneous classroom. Notably, this paper will concentrate on the traditional rotation model with a digital component while excluding other rotation models.
Differentiated Instruction is often highly sought after to show that educators are teaching their students from a variety of angles. However, educators must understand that differentiation means different work, not more work for the students (Latz et al., 2008). On the contrary, educators will require more time to understand and prepare proper lessons, dramatically increasing educator workloads to accomplish this task. This is especially complex as classrooms are filled with multileveled students each with their own struggles as they are encouraged to keep up and stay focused. All too often, teachers insufficiently adapt their instructions to these differences (Smale-Jacobse et al., 2019). According to Kiley (2011), teachers accomplish equitable learning through deliberate DI activities such that students receive instruction that matches their individually tailored needs. However, in reality this is not an easy task (Deunk 2015). In order to effectively integrate differentiation into the classroom, educators must understand and appreciate the problems with implementation that cause resistance to differentiation.
Action research is primarily used by teachers to mainly focus on the improvement of their classroom practice (p 37). This research focuses on the use of the blended learning model of station rotation and flipped classroom to construct an environment that allows for students to self-paced their learning using the support of technology. This action research strives to answer the fundamental question for improving learning environments for a heterogenous class: “What are the Effects on Differentiated Instruction in a Smart Learning Environment Through Blended Learning in a Station Rotation Model at the High School Level?”
This study will be implemented through a quasi-experimental design (QED) control trial which is a group comparison study, supported by a qualitative analysis. Mertler (2019) defined “Action research as any systematic inquiry conducted by teachers, administrators, counselors, or others with a vested interest in the teaching and learning process or environment for the purpose of gathering information about how their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how their students learn” (p. 28). Group comparison design is a research design that investigates the potential cause-and-effect by comparing groups that differ in treatment condition, that can be “compared on a single, common measure in order to see if the differing characteristic or condition may have resulted in different performance” (p. 108-109). A qualitative analysis approach is valid when the following factors are present when the research question is specific, confirmatory, or predictive (p. 97).
QED research allows the researcher to reduce the chance that alternative explanations from the phase of data analysis can apply by allowing the researcher to match techniques to “minimize differences between treatment and comparison groups in characteristics” (Scher et al., 2015). In maintaining qualitative data analysis, the study will meet the Works Clearing House (2020) standard using a statistical approach to ensure that the results: “(1) assess equivalence of the intervention and comparison groups at baseline, that is, prior to the intervention; (2) examine at least one eligible outcome measure that meets review requirements; and (3) be free of confounding factors” to receive the rating of “Meets WWC Group Design Standards Without Reservations” (p. 4).
The data required to collect would be a list of all instructional models, strategies, digital applications, to be used in the blended learning environment and the same methods used in the standard classroom. Since the study involves the effect of learning on differential instruction in a heterogenous classroom, data will also be collected on demographics such as: age, gender, socioeconomic status, and learning ability. Data will be gathered regarding the students’ understanding through summative assessment at the start of the research and at the conclusion. Finally, the participation rate will need to be collected to comply with the standards required by the Works Clearing House (2020) to “assess sample attrition” (p. 4).
Measurements will be completed using qualitative measurements. The data collected will include results from a standardized pre-test and post-test.
In today’s society, technology is inextricably intertwined within our daily lives. This obviously extends into the classroom as the use of technology accompanies students throughout their day. During the last few years, many education systems have attempted to implement technology in the classroom to enhance learning or to fill learning gaps with varying success. However, because new technologies emerge on a near daily basis, vetting useful technology from not, as well as integrating useful technology is a monumental task. Implementing technology is critical in reaching modern students and fulfilling their educational needs.
Students constantly have access to technology that could potentially supplement learning in the classroom. However, the COVID pandemic saw many children who were thrust into the digital learning environment who failed to use technology properly or were completely unmotivated. Worse yet, research indicates that nearly a year of learning was lost during the two years after the onset of the COVID pandemic (Dorn, 2021). Teachers and students alike hold a negative view of digital learning as most found the online education implementation to be subpar during the pandemic (Stuchlikova, 2021). However, this paper proposes that if educators understand what blended learning actually means and properly implement those teaching strategies in the classroom, students that have fallen behind have an opportunity to fill in their learning gaps via newly created DI through the use of blended learning in a station rotation setting.
For the literature review I plan to research the following topics to expand my knowledge of the relationship improving learning and technology
- The cause of learning gaps
- Differentiated Instruction
- Blended learning station rotation
- Blended learnings effect on learning gaps
Prior to COVID-19, reading and math scores had largely remained the same over the last 30 years; however, while all students suffered educational decline, impoverished or disadvantaged students suffered the largest decline post COVID-19 (U.S. Department of Education, 2022). Educators will be faced with students that have significant learning gaps requiring more intervention with differentiated instruction.
This action research plan seeks to explore improved ways to incorporate differentiated instruction for the hopes of closing learning gaps.
Kiley, D. (2011). Differentiated instruction in the secondary classroom: Analysis of the … Westerner Michigan University. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?httpsredir=1&article=1429&context=dissertations
Latz, A. O., Speirs Neumeister, K. L., Adams, C. M., & Pierce, R. L. (2008). Peer coaching to improve classroom differentiation: Perspectives from project clue. Roeper Review, 31(1), 27–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/02783190802527356
Mertler, C. A. (2013). Action research. SAGE Publications.
Scher, L., Kisker, E., & Dynarski, M. (2015). Designing and Conducting Strong Quasi-Experiments in Education. Version 2. Retrieved 2023, from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED561293.pdf
Smale-Jacobse, A. E., Meijer, A., Helms-Lorenz, M., & Maulana, R. (2019). Differentiated instruction in secondary education: A systematic review of research evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02366
What Works Clearinghouse. (2020). Standards handbook, Version 4.1. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/referenceresources/WWC-Standards-Handbook-v4-1-508.pdf