This post was written with guest bloggers Megan Ryder & Kristen Olsen – if you would like to be featured on the Showbie blog please
email Justin here!

When planning for guided reading or math groups, teachers are looking for ways to differentiate lessons for students.  As instructional coaches, we support teachers, like you, in the four areas of differentiation as referenced in this article by Carol Ann Tomlinson. In order to help teachers with the differentiation process, we have explored a number of new technologies. Here’s what we’ve found:

Showbie helps with content differentiation by allowing teachers to quickly distribute material to individual students. For example, let’s say you want to set a reading activity for your class. You want to give your students the same directions but different reading articles. In Showbie, you would create a new ‘assignment’  called “Reading”. The learning directions could be given through the shared assignment folder – within an uploaded file, quick text comment or voice note. Now you can distribute the levelled reading articles to the appropriate students via their individual assignment folder. Students only see what is in the shared assignment folder along with any material in their personal folder.

A concern that we often hear from teachers is that there isn’t enough time to get everything done.  Sound familiar?  Our job isn’t to add things to teachers’ plates (that are already overflowing), our job is to simplify what is on their plate.  We’ve found that Showbie allows teachers to distribute materials quickly and efficiently, while saving paper.  When working with Showbie teachers, they have mentioned how much they enjoy sitting at home on their couch, “digitally passing out papers”.  To reach our more traditional teachers, we decided to create a short video of ourselves distributing materials via the traditional and digital model.

In the video above, both teachers distribute differentiated short reading passages. Kristen walks the copy machine, makes photocopies, labels each piece of paper and walks back to the classroom to distribute the materials in paper folders. Megan, on the other hand, decides to use the Showbie app. She is able to quickly hand out the material to all students, right from the comfort of her couch. When compared to the traditional model, we found that it took only a fifth of the time to distribute guided materials digitally using Showbie.

So…what happened when Ms. Ryder distributed assignments from the comfort of her couch? She saved a lot of time! It took her just 3 minutes, for most teachers, that’s a time saving of over an hour a week! Not to mention the time you save grading and handing back assignments with Showbie! Work smarter, not harder.

We know that teachers don’t have a lot of time to try new things in their classrooms. So we look out for tech tools that find smarter ways of doing the more time consuming clerical tasks. Showbie is one of those tools. It will make your life easier and save you a lot of time – now we all want that!

Justin is a teacher & edtech evangelist from Melbourne, Australia. He moved to California to join Imagine K12 as a startup founder & currently writes for Showbie.

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