Identifying Similarities and Differences

From Web 2.0 That Works: Marzano & Web 2.0

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Enhance students' understanding of and ability to use knowledge by engaging them in mental processes that involve identifying ways items are alike and different.

Generalizations From Research

  1. Presenting students with explicit guidance in identifying similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.
  2. Asking students to independently identify similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.
  3. Representing similarities and differences in graphic or symbolic form enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.
  4. Identification of similarities and differences can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The identification of similarities and differences is a highly robust activity.

Example Activities

  • Venn Diagrams
  • Comparison Matrix
  • Analogies Organizer

Recommendations & Ideas

  1. Use comparing, classifying, metaphors, and analogies when having students compare similarities and differences.
  2. Give students a model of the steps for engaging in the process.
  3. Use a familiar context to teach students these steps.
  4. Use Graphic Organizers as a visual tool to represent similarities and differences.
  5. Guide students as they engage in this process. Gradually give less structure and less guidance.


Information presented above in the definition is from McREL, and generalizations from research, and recommendations & ideas is from Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (ASCD)(Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, Jane E. Pollock).

Web 2.0 Connections

"Y" Under each category indicates that this tool can be used with this strategy.

"Free +" Indicates that the tool is free at the basic level, but that more advanced versions are available at a cost.

Category Key:

SD = Identifying Similarities and Differences CL = Cooperative Learning SNT = Summarizing and Note-Taking ER = Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition HP = Homework and Practice NR = Nonlinguistic Representation OF = Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback HYP = Generating and Testing Hypotheses QCO = Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers

Tool Link Desc Cost SD CL SNT ER HP NR OF HYP QCO Notes
VoiceThread [[1]] Online Collaborative Slideshows Free+ Y Y Y Y Y his online tool allows for collaboration on projects from any internet-connected computer. Products can be very rich visually and aurally, and the commenting feature is excellent. Comments can be made through text, recording on the computer, or calling in via phone (fees apply).
Exploratree [[2]] Online Graphic Organizer Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Interactive, pre-made graphic organizers that can be edited online
MediaWiki [[3]] Open Source wiki software Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Wiki engine that powers [http://www.wikipedia.org Wikipedia] as well as this wiki.
iGoogle [[4]] Online Personal Homepage Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Integrates with all Google tools
Netvibes [[5]] Online Personal Homepage Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Backpack [[6]] Online Personal Organizer Free + Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ning [[7]] Community Websites Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Can be used for a classroom website
EditGrid [[8]] Online Spreadsheets Free + Y Y Y Y Y Integrates with Facebook and iPhone
Diigo [[9]] Online Social Annotation Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Writeboard [[10]] Online Collaborative Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Integrates with BackPack
MyNoteIT [[11]] Online Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
stu.dicio.us [[12]] Online Note-Taking Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Currently under redevelopment
pbWiki [[13]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
YackPack [[14]] Online voice Messaging Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Links directs to YackPack for Educators information
Ajax13 [[15]] Online Graphic Editor Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Requires Firefox 1.5 (or higher) Browser
SketchUp [[16]] 3D Drawing Software Free Y Y Y Y Integrates with Google Earth
Thinkature [[17]] Online Collaboration & Whiteboard Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
ScanR [[18]] Online Scanner, Copier, Fax from Phone or Digital Camera Free + Y Y Y Y Y Y
Flickr [[19]] Photo Hosting Website Free + Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Zoho Wiki [[20]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Zoho Sheet [[21]] Online Spreadsheets Free Y Y Y Y Y Part of Zoho Suite of Online Apps
Google SpreadSheets [[22]] Online Spreadsheets Free Y Y Y Y Y Also contains Documents & Presentations
WordPress [[23]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Technorati [[24]] Blog Search Engine Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
EduBlogs [[25]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Blogger [[26]] Blog Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y
Wikispaces [[27]] Wiki Hosting Website Free Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y


Examples from teachers, students, classrooms, schools

Please click on the "edit" tab to share your examples here.

Contributor: Louise Maine In order to understand the classification of animals in the phyla and some classes of phyla, students were given two organisms each of two particular classes or phyla to determine similarities and differences among them. Information was collected from the class and put together in a large document to show these in relation to the animal kingdom. As a class, the information was discussed to show how the similarities and differences among these animals placed them in a particular class and phylum.

Contributor: Tiffany Zarling In order to simplify the voice recording process for book trailers, students use www.voki.com. They create a free account, create their own avatar, and can record their voices in a variety of ways (text to speech, phone call, uploading, or recording directly). It IS a free+ tool. The free accounts record up to one minute of voice. You can email, embed, or house your finished Voki through the website as well. It was a great motivating tool for senior level English students!

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