Tuesday, November 3, 2009

E-Learning’s Gender Factor

We all know it’s important to differentiate instruction to better meet the needs of all students but how can this be done in an online environment Do we need to consider how to differentiate online learning environments for gender?

This month in Digital Directions Michelle R. Davis looks at how to differentiate instruction and increase relevance to gain kids’ interest and desire to learn. One research study in 2005 concluded that when given a choice girls chose to work collaboratively and were interested in partnerships on computers while boys wanted to work individually and wanted to compete. Girls in middle grades used the computer more for socialization and working on homework while boys play games and look for entertainment.

Kelly King, the co-author of Strategies for Teaching Boys and Girls: Elementary Level states that online courses for boys should include games, simulations, videos, be competitive with information presented in small chunks spread throughout the lesson. An online course for girls would include more information at the start of the lesson and collaboration would be stressed.

But not all boys are competitive and not all girls want to collaborate with other girls. So how can online courses meet the needs of all students? The key is customizing and differentiating instruction. Students today want to customize their music and TV viewing so students should be given a variety of ways to experience online classes and a variety of subject matters to learn, making sure all students are exposed to common core knowledge, according to Tom Carroll.

So as we look for ways to provide more digital content within the curriculum let’s look for ways to customize digital content to make the learning environment successful for all students.

To read the entire article please go to Digital Directions:

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