I started my journey by going on a walk … a Digital Gallery Walk
I remember how I used to do poster sessions with my math classes. Groups of students would tear off a big sheet of poster paper from an easel pad and go to work crafting their math presentations with grape and licorice-scented markers. The posters would go up on the wall and students would take turns admiring each poster as if strolling the halls of the Louvre. Then, when a certain poster struck their interest, they would peel off a little sticky note and leave a comment, question or some feedback for the creative teams to digest and make corrections if necessary. A powerful activity no doubt, but what happens when the class period is over? Yup. Those posters most likely end up in the garbage.
Let’s welcome our new friend, Google’s Applied Digital Skills All About a Topic lesson and reimagine the gallery walk.
Activity: Digital Gallery Walk Reimagined with All About a Topic
- Create student teams and assign. Create teams for in-class collaboration, assign the math presentation topic and assign each of your students the Applied Digital Skills lesson.
- Design. Replacing poster paper with a collaborative digital canvas and smelly markers with a host of flexible and fun creation tools, students are able to create collaborative, visually inspiring presentations presenting their math findings.
- Share and comment. When students are done they can share their math presentation with the class for feedback. Sticky notes are replaced by interactive comment bubbles.
- Iterate. The recycling bin is replaced by a searchable digital learning portfolio that lets students take their learning with them on their math journeys for as long as they have their G Suite accounts.
Impacts on the Math Classroom
Builds Presentation Skills – Being able to communicate ideas is a critical skill not only for the jobs of the future but also for the math classroom of today. Applied Digital Skills provides students with tools and skills to design and create professional presentations that help them to demonstrate their learning in a way paper can’t. Using Google Slides and this lesson, students can choose themes, add text and images, insert videos, add transitions and do a host of other creative things with slides.
Elevates Collaboration – The big, beautiful, blue Share button in the top right corner of your Slides deck opens the door to collaboration which is critical to the math classroom. Sharing a Slides deck with the whole class pulls all of the posters into one collaborative digital space. Students can leave feedback, co-create content, peer review each other and share their learning with the world. Most importantly, when learning becomes visible it creates more opportunities for student self-assessment and critical thinking.
Asynchronous Learning – Let’s be honest, it takes more than 45 minutes a day to learn mathematics. With the paper-based Gallery Walk, students lose access to the posters once they walk out of the classroom door. Using the All About a Topic Lesson they can access the posters anytime and any place they have a wifi connection. Whether it is in their living room, the library, Grandma’s house or on the bus with their phones they will be able to access whenever and wherever they need it.
Scaffolding with Search – Google Search and Google Drive are great for scaffolding and developmental learning. A student can’t remember the definition of a parallelogram? They can do a keyword search in Drive and the presentation pops up for them. Looking for a phrase or a word within a Google Slide deck? Try Command F and find it within the document. These simple strategies allow students to quickly and efficiently connect concepts and build their own learning scaffold around them.
The math classroom is a great place to not only begin building critical skills for the future but also to build critical learning skills for today. The Digital Gallery Walks opens the doors for communication, collaboration, critical thinking and so much more!.
Sign up for Applied Digital Skills today to try this activity in your classroom.
Looking for more ways to integrate Applied Digital Skills in your Math Classroom? Check out the free, email-based course Integrating Digital Skills in the Math Classroom.
Brendan Brennan is a teacher, researcher, and trainer out of Honolulu, Hawaii. He is currently serving as the Professional Development Architect for the Hawaii’s Future Ready Learning program as well as the co-author of the statewide 1:1 Deployment & Change Guide Book. He is also working on Project Open Glassroom and launching the first generation of Moonshot Incubators during the upcoming school year. In his free time, he likes taking long walks on the beach, drinking tea with good posture and writing NASCAR fan fiction.