Using Technology for Differentiated Instruction

With effective supports, students of varied abilities, multiple intelligences, and identified as exceptional can receive effective instruction in mainstream classrooms. Technology can assist teachers in the development and implementation of differentiated instruction while maintaining equity within the classroom and academic integrity.

SmartView Versa + Handheld Electronic Magnifier

  • Electronic handheld magnifier that can magnify images up to 15x. Large, simple to use buttons, large LCD display. Autofocus for optimal distance. Ideal for low to moderate vision impairment and useful for text-based instructions classwork in visual art.
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Dragon Naturally Speaking

  • Software that allows students to use single voice commands to word process, insert blocks of text, titles, logos, open and close applications, control the mouse and desktop of a computer. Works with almost all Microsoft Windows-based applications including
    • Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Corel Wordperfect
  • Available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch

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  • Software that assists struggling readers and writers.
  • Offers a list of words with similar meaning to add variety to writing
  • Works with all commonly used programs such as Microsoft Word, Notepad, email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, GMail, Hotmail. Also works on the web with websites.
  • Word prediction even if words are spelled creatively or missing parts.
  • Gives examples for words that sound similar by using them in a sentence (e.g. there, their / to, too etc.)
  • Helps only as much as needed with functions that can turn off or on.
  • Works in English, French, Spanish, and German.


Bitstrips for Schools

  • An educational tool that engages students using a web-based medium
  • 100% web-based with nothing to install
  • Hundreds of curriculum-connected activities.
  • Take the time and effort out of drawing by:
    • Design and dress fully poseable characters
    • Give them words, actions and emotions
    • Add scenes and proper from collection or add your own images
  • Adapt lessons from any subject
  • Private virtual classrooms
  • Student permission settings that ensure the teacher is in control
  • Allows students to create a dramatic event or art project within the teacher's framework designed specifically for schools and educators.
  • Allows students to express their knowledge of content and learning expectations through a different medium.


Loop/Self-Opening Scissors

  • Loop-handled scissors are self-opening and require minimal pressure to compress
  • Self-opening scissors require only half the hand strength of conventional scissors


Tempo Loop or Display Fabric

  • Will hold anything to which the hook side of Velcro is attached. This fabric can be made into thumb less mitts, which can be slid on to the hand of a student with limited fine motor ability. This mitt provides a surface to which stick or other puppets can be attached so a student can take part in a drama just by raising his or her hand.
  • Can be made into a glove for attaching velroed items for a finger play.
  • Can be used to make a display board for using any velcroed figures for storytelling.
  • Puppet fingers can be attached to a doweling which is attached to a students wheelchair. The student can move his or her wheelchair in order to indicate taking part in the action.

Music Composition and Theory Software

  • Many of the Ontario school boards have purchased a license for Finale for the entire board (some offer alternatives such as Sibelius or a derivative of one of the two)
  • These software are very useful in the music classroom. They allow students to easily edit scores (for example for different instrumentation), compose (supporting the theory and composition components of the curriculum), or arrange piece (allowing students to arrange their favourite pop song to be played by friends in class). As the students compose they can also play what they have created
  • Some other features, such as direct input by playing a MIDI keyboard or guitar allows for further interaction with composition. These programs are therefore very useful in a differentiated classroom since it appeals to student interests and engagement and assignments can easily be modified to suit student needs and interest


  • SmartBoards are very interesting tools to use in any classroom but can be of special interest in music classrooms. It can be used simply as a visual tool (using PowerPoint or internet sites) or it can be used as an interactive tool in music analysis and theory. Students can use software, such as Finale, in order to compose directly on the board as a class. Theory classes can also be supported by whole class review and exercises. Students can also put up PDF of scores in order to highlight any number of musical elements (for example, highlight the main motif)

Naxos Music Library

  • This resource is an online music library of classical music. Most Ontario boards also have purchased a license for this site.
  • Students can listen to classical music, performed by professional musicians. This is good for students to explore classical music and composer interests, listening to class or solo repertoire played by professional musicians or for music history and analysis assignments.
  • There are additional interesting features; such as finding songs based on certain adjectives and emotions


  • YouTube is becoming increasingly useful in the classroom environment. It is especially interesting in music classes as it allows students to explore and share musical interests (both popular music and different versions of course repertoire) as well as explore tutorials on proper technique.
  • YouTube videos are also often used as a Minds On activity in order to engage students (there are many funny explanations of every aspect of music learning).
  • Students are also able to post videos of their own performance for sharing with the teacher or the class as well as self-evaluation (an essential part of the music learning process)

Music Theory Websites

  • There are numerous music theory and ear training websites that allow students to independently practice their theory and listening skills
  • One of the most popular of these sites is

Adaptive Musical Instruments

  • Assistive musical instruments come in many forms. These can include creating a completely new instrument or adapting certain features of the instrument to suit the individual's needs.
  • In order to choose the appropriate instrument suitable for a person with a disability, certain considerations should be taken into account. First and foremost, the instrument must be chosen according to what the person is interested in playing. The physical condition of the player is then taken into account. This includes assessing hand-eye coordination, motor skills, size, and strength of the person. This step determines what instrument the person can physically play, and what adaptations need to be made to the currently used instrument.
  • Percussion
    • Drumsticks have been specially created for people with pain in the hand or lack of finger strength. These are sticks with a grip made of rubber so it is easier to hold on to.
    • There are also gloves that the drummer is able to place the stick into so they don't have to actually grip the drumstick.
    • Special apparatus have been designed in order to hold smaller percussion instruments such as the triangle and the hand drum.
  • Wind
    • A company called FluteLab makes wind instruments in order to suit a person's disability. Many of the instruments consist of adapting the instrument to use with only one hand and sometimes part of the other hand.

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