My educational schooling has taught me that differentiating instruction means “creating multiple paths so that students of different abilities, interest or learning needs experience equally appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and present concepts as a part of the daily learning process.”
Never before have I experienced this type of instruction than I have during this week at flash animation tech camp. The week-long daycamp is for 10-15 years olds – and we know how every parent stretches that a bit. The youngest boy is starting 4th grade and the oldest will be sophomore in high school – but most are around 12. Do you know the maturity difference between a 4th grader and a sophomore (ok, ok .. at times – not much) but ** WOW ** there’s a huge difference.
The students are all eager to learn flash animation – so that helps – but each comes with a different set of skills, ability to pay attention, willingness to put forth effort and unique personality. Each day I am presenting an animation that teaches a new technique and the students follow along and modify the flash project to their own liking. There is a still plenty of time for individual projects and interests. Each student is placing their flash movies on a webpage to showcase the week’s work.
At the end of the day today, the entire group went around from computer to computer to view the projects so far. The amazing thing was that they were all pretty good. Yes, some students were more artistic than others and some had mastered more advanced technical skills, but we were all able to applaud each other’s work. I believed it even sparked some new interest in some advanced techniques.
So even though maturity will always be a factor when you place groups of kids together – a common interest, like making and watching animated movies, will level the playing field and connect people of all ages.