You know when you learn about a resource and say to yourself, “Ah, I wish I had learned about this before!” That is how I feel about Applied Digital Skills by Google for Education. Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a virtual training about this curriculum. This training was provided by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) in partnership with AASL. It was presented by Sherry Gick from Five Star Technology Services.
Applied Digital Skills is a curriculum developed using G Suite for Education tools. It focuses on digital literacies such as find, evaluate, create, and communicate. The lessons are built around developing the specific skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. They are geared to late elementary to adult learners. Here are my four takeaways that make this resource one worth learning about.
The lessons can be applied across content areas.
Again, I wish I had explored this resource back in March! It would have saved me tons of time during remote learning. There are more than 120 hours of lesson plans available. There are collections as well as individual lessons. The lesson plans focus on the skills but have flexibility so they can be applied to many topics. Some of my favorite lessons include If-Then Adventure Story, Sea Battle in Google Sheets, and Plan and Promote an Event.
The format is easy to follow.
These are complete lessons. They include a lesson plan, all materials, as well as a rubric. The lessons all have a similar setup. This structure makes working through each lesson manageable for kids. The video was on the left with the step-by-step instructions on the right. There is also an amazing picture-in-picture option that allows you to play the video while you work through your own activity.
Videos are spot on.
Each lesson included a step-by-step video along with written instructions. Each video is five minutes or less making them simple and direct. The videos can be used as part of the Applied Digital Skills lesson, but they can also be downloaded and shared individually. This means they can be used to support other lessons you might be creating too.
Tracking of student progress made simple.
It is very easy to switch between being a teacher and being a student. This makes it easy to see what your students would see. Additionally, you can track each student’s progress through the lesson. You can see what lessons they have completed, as well as what videos they have watched and what they have skipped. This is helpful if you have a student who has questions. You can guide them to go back and see what they need to review. As a teacher, you are able to have multiple classes. The lessons can be shared through Google Classroom, but do not have to be.
As we move into the coming school year I am excited to try out this resource with students. I would like to take a current project that students are using and mix it with one of the lessons available. I plan to try this with lessons like Photo Journal, All About Topic presentation, or Write an Emoji Story activity. If we should move into remote learning this curriculum would provide meaningful instruction in a simple format. I will also need to renew my Google Certification next year. Applied Digital Skills has lessons that I can use for this certification as an adult learner. Finally, I think there is an opportunity for me to create a class for my colleagues. This way we could tailor some professional development around technology skills. There are so many possibilities!
Author: Kelly Hincks
I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a librarian for the past nine years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I was most recently a member of ALA’s Ready to Code (RtC) Task Force.