Last year, at the end of summer break, I received a phone call from my principal. An elective class was needed. Incoming 7th-grade students needed more training on using Google tools. I had earned my Google Educator Level 2 earlier in the year, so it was decided that I would teach a “Google” class to help prepare students. I was given full control to create the curriculum. Only one problem, I had never created a curriculum. I had no idea where to begin. Initially, I thought about having students create tutorials or modules similar to the Google Educator Level 1 training. I quickly learned that idea was extremely time-consuming. With the new school year quickly approaching, I still needed to create this new curriculum combined with new strategies for my science classes. So, I did what most educators would do. I asked for advice from my e-coach Cory and I “Googled” it. More specifically, I Googled “Digital curriculum for Google”. This is what appeared.
Applied Digital Skills is a self-paced, digital curriculum for students with 11 different units for middle and high school. If you haven’t gotten to use Applied Digital Skills, let me break it down for you. Each unit has closed-caption downloadable video introductions, step by step videos for each activity, time recommended to complete, discussions, a list of skills covered, instructions, detailed lesson plans, engaging scaffolded activities, state standards, and rubrics to assess student progress and it’s free!
For my class, I heavily rely on using Google Classroom to use as a learning management system to implement due dates and the discussions. After each activity, students take screenshots of their work to show progress, then upload all their work to Google Classroom. They also share their work during discussions for peer commenting and feedback, then share their final projects through student videos. “Plan an Event” works fabulously with the students’ Genius Hour projects. I used “Box Office Hits” to help teach the scientific method by making hypothesis from the different movies as well as learning how to organize, analyze, use, manipulate, and visualize their data through graphs. Technology, Ethics, and Security are great for World Geography/Social Studies. Students research different countries, cultures and internet policies, then add their research to the “ethics and security” unit. In “Create an Editing Tool” with Programming, students create an “Auto Editor” tool that finds and highlights overused words in a piece of writing using Google Docs. “Plan and Budget” is my favorite to teach since it allows the students to think of real-world situations such as car loans, cell phone plans, or rent vs. mortgages.
While going through the Applied Digital Skills has been a learning curve, it’s also been ongoing professional development for me as an educator. It has helped me learn new strategies and styles on how to approach and deliver content with my students in a more engaging manner. I’ve focused more on creating a true blended learning class environment with my science classes. Mostly, it has helped cultivate a sense of community, engagement, excitement, and collaboration in my classroom. If you would like to know more about Applied Digital Skills, how I use it in my classes, see student work samples or you use it and have experiences to share. Feel free to reach out!
7th grade Science
Switzerland County Schools
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