I came across this article on the Cult of Pedagogy that goes into detail on using playlists as classroom differentiation. At first I was confused. Playlists? Like music? But then as I began reading the article I found it was referencing something completely different.
“Playlists” can be used in the classroom through a digital medium (such as Google Classroom) to create a differentiated plan of instruction, learning, and tasks based on individual student need. Each student is able to work through the same needed information in their own time (within reason). They have a checklist that they follow and move through steps designed just for them. Oftentimes, the first few set up steps are going to be the same across the class, but once the teacher delves further into the instruction piece the differentiation comes to play.
In her article, Jennifer Gonzalez explores how this is used in one teacher’s classroom and even gives examples of how this might look.
This would be especially useful in a classroom with very differently leveled students. All classrooms would benefit, of course, from differentiation though. The biggest use I could see would be for projects. This allows for different projects while the teacher is still able to monitor progress and require different check ins. It allows for the students to feel some freedom and like they are in control of their learning. This would benefit my students by giving them some independence within some basic guidelines. They are able to be in charge of their learning and will grow from the experience. This also allows for them to work at their own pace and not feel so rushed to be the same as everyone else.
When it comes to barriers that might exist, not all students have access to computers or the internet in their home lives. If this is some big project or group creation they are working on, they would only be able to work at school in some cases. In order to work around that, there could be a paper version available for some students as needed. Or the teacher could expect that all work would be done at school, not as homework.