Real-World Learning with Google Apps
As teachers head back to the classroom for the new school year, many are still wondering how they are going to get everything accomplished on their massive to-do list. Standards? Technology Integration? Real-life application? Engaging learning? How can students get the best of each of these while learning in a meaningful way?
What is this magic of which we speak? Google has created a FREE, yes FREE, curriculum aimed at secondary students in grades 6-12. (Don’t fret elementary friends–you can TOTALLY make these work for your students too!) Currently, there are 49 different lessons, and Google has been adding more material all year. (Keep watching to see what they will add this year!) Each set ranges in difficulty, skills, and time commitment and uses various GSuite applications to deliver a real-world learning experience. Students watch short video clips that explain what they are about to do and then are given the next steps to work through. Once a student finishes a section, Google is ready with another video to show the next steps. Each video includes a transcript in case you need to translate or support various learners. If you aren’t an expert at all things Google – NO WORRIES! You don’t have to be! Google has everything you need to walk right next to your learners in the process. They even scaffold in collaboration and critical thinking! (THANK YOU, Google!)
The support for teachers is incredible. You can create your own classes so you can track your students any way you’d like. You can see the progress of each of your students in the data center, which also shows how they are performing on Google’s short reflections. Google also lets you share directly to Google Classroom!
You can even sort the curriculum units by state standards or Google Apps that you are interested in utilizing.
Additionally, each unit comes with a Google Doc lesson plan that you can make a copy of and completely customize to fit your learner. The lesson plans even include pictures for every step of the unit so you know what you should see from your students. Again, no one has to be the expert in the room as you go through these units together.
If that wasn’t enough…Google also has created rubrics for each lesson. Once you make a copy of the template, the rubric is completely customizable for your classroom! Notice on the left side in Column A there is a link to exemplary projects. No need to worry about what it should look like. Google supports your learning.
So where do you start? You can pick! If you are new to Applied Digital Skills, here are a couple of suggestions.
- Create a Presentation “All About a Topic” – This is a short unit that averages a 45-90 minute completion time for the entire project. Google Slides is the only application used during this unit-keeping the focus simple. The best part? Once students complete this unit, they can apply these same skills to all sorts of projects and ideas for the rest of the year. (Elementary folks…this one is a PERFECT place to start with your learners!.)
- Create a Resume in Google Docs – This unit is also a short one with an average completion time of 45-90 minutes. We find that students are great at typing; however, when we ask them to format their document and think about design elements, they aren’t sure what to do next. This unit would be a great place to start. Not only will their formatting and design skills improve, but they can also use this to introduce themselves to their classmates and think about goals and objectives for the upcoming school year.
I challenge you to find one curriculum set that sounds fun and dive in! Don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers – model a growth mindset for your learners and learn with them. You might just learn something you didn’t know AND have a little fun along the way.