Differentiation: Built-in scaffolding that can be turned on or off by/for the user

Top-level Category Differentiation: Built-in scaffolding that can be turned on or off by/for the user
App Name Sid the Science Kid
App Maker Jim Henson and PBS Kids
Screenshot *
Description “Sid the Science Kid Read & Play” contains stories and fun activities aimed at stimulating young children’s interest in science and basic science knowledge and skills (e.g., basic facts about germs, careful observation of visual evidence). It features two story books, jokes, games, sing along music videos, and coloring pages.
Screenshot context On this app page that appears at the start of the story “The Trouble with Germs,” the user can choose from among three levels of scaffolding. The “Autoplay” option reads the text aloud, highlights words as they are read, and turns pages automatically. The “Read to Me” option waits for the user to turn the page. The “Read it Myself” option turns off the audio and highlighting.
Explanation and commentary By allowing the child-user or a teacher to choose among three levels of scaffolding, the “Sid the Science Kid” app makes possible a certain amount of differentiation of instruction and support. On a given day, some students may benefit from the audio and highlighting–supports that may allow them to read independently while attending to the story’s plot and information as much as to the decoding of words. Other students–more advanced readers–may choose to read without these supports, though with the knowledge that they can access them if they need to. Over time, all students can challenge themselves to gradually diminish the amount of scaffolding and support they use (Fisher & Frey, 2008). By making levels of support visible, accessible, and easily customizable, the app may help promote an active, independent, and problem-solving mindset in young readers (Johnston & Winograd, 1985).

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