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There are many ways to determine what are the most efficient and appropriate resources to tend to the diverse needs of the typical classroom. However, one proves to be perhaps the most powerful and effective: Student Interest Inventories.
Student Interest Inventories are pre-assessment and observation tools that teachers give students so that they (the students) can select their favorite things, topics, research interests, and activities. It also works as a good research tool to determine the confidence level of students in areas such as technology, research, and basic skills. Once a student interest inventory is given, the information can certainly help the teacher to discern which teaching tools will prove more effective for student success.
Student interest inventories can even help to foreshadow the outcome of a lesson. For example, the sophistication that often comes with integrating technology makes the typical Millennial learner much more curious and inquisitive, as the resources to obtain instant information are readily available. For this reason, a teacher may learn form one of those inventories whether the classroom population is digitally-ready, or more kinesthetically prone to other forms of learning: book vs. netbook, or wikipedia vs. encyclopedia, just to give a colorful example.
However, keep in mind that there is not one simple tool or resource to fit every single lesson. Thanks to ubiquitous access to computers and the advent of the Web, teachers can build a lesson using a Smartboard and, with it, access different online research sites, games, graphic organizers, calculators, authors' blogs, and even movies. Yet, this shows you that, even using a tool as wonderful as a Smartboard, you still need to do your own research of what is available versus what is that your students specifically like.
Hence, whether a student is developmentally challenged, behaviorally disturbed, gifted, or even an English language learner, it is in their strengths and not in their weaknesses that the teacher must focus in order to help them succeed. For this reason, the Student Interest Inventory serves as the conduit through which the students will tell the teacher which are their levels of strength, their areas of interest, and their personal skills. From that moment forward is that the teacher must begin to research for learning strategies and tools.
The answer must be based on criteria for each specific area only. For example: If you had an artifact, video clip, computer software, podcast, etc. describe elements within each area (learning disabled, gifted and talented, etc) that would determine if each resource were appropriate or not for that specific area.
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