Monday, April 23, 2018

Applied Digital Skills, from Google

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Learn about Google's relatively new Applied Digital Skills Curriculum, for secondary students and higher-education learners! Authentic instruction & assessment tools, rubrics, and ready-made lesson plans could make this an extremely valuable resource - plus, it's all completely FREE!

Download Episode 22: Google's Applied Digital Skills Curriculum 

Or listen on Apple Home Pod or your favorite podcast platform below...


Hi! This is Matt, and I am coming to you from aboard an Amtrak coach heading to the heart of downtown Chicago. I apologize for (1) the lateness of this episode, as I was unexpectedly busy over the weekend, and (2) what I imagine mayI am on my way to be some less than perfect audio quality while on board the train.

In case you are interested, I am heading to Google’s Chicago Headquarters to learn more about Google’s somewhat new Applied Digital Skills Curriculum You can find their published curriculum at

The way I see it so far, the curriculum site is divided into 2 main areas. The first area is for middle- and high-school students. Click on the Curriculum tab, and below that you’ll see the words, “Filter by” and “Audience.” Change the filter view to middle and high school students and you’ll see a listing of project-based activities for students starting around grade 6 or 7. You can then further filter it down by state, grade level, and standard to find exactly what you need. Or you can just browse the listing of lesson units and explore on your own.  There are about a dozen lessons at this time, but I would imagine there will be more as Google develops this further - I’ll let you know more if I can after the meeting tomorrow.

Some of the current activities are single-activity lessons that may take 1-2 class periods. Others are units of several activities that may take 3 to 9 clock-hours to complete. The lessons and units appear to focus on authentic instruction and assessment ideas, like making a budget, planning & coordinating events, and researching topics to make real-world decisions.  Throughout the lesson activities, students are guided by videos of real people explaining the topics and showing the steps. Students learn how to use G-Suite Tools through the activities, rather than learning the tools in isolation and then applying them at some future date. The range of tools is quite impressive. For example, one of the activities I’ve explored is “Researching and Developing a Topic.” Now it covers a lot of the basics you would expect, like using Google Search, evaluating sources, writing an article using Google Docs, etc. But it also teaches kids how to code a pop-up messages every time a reader opens the document!

The site offers complete lesson plans and rubrics to help you deliver and assess the lessons. The tutorials also have transcripts embedded below each video. Lesson plans also include class period starters, extension ideas, and activities for the “I’m-done-now-what-do-I-do” kids in your class.

The second part of the curriculum contains learning activities for faculty and higher-ed learners. To be quite honest, I’ve been spending a lot of my time perusing the student-focused lessons and I haven’t taken the time to explore this part yet, so I am really looking forward to learning more about this soon!

Thanks for listening today! Remember to drop by Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or where ever you happen to be listening today and give me a review. You can also leave me a voice message through the Anchor app if you’d like to participate or ask questions for me to answer during a future episode.

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