Engaging Your Students With Digital Learning Guides {PLUS: FREE TRAINING!} - The Classroom Nook

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Engaging Your Students With Digital Learning Guides {PLUS: FREE TRAINING!}


Today's topic is a BIG one for me.  I've been putting my heart and soul into a new, on-going project that has been a passion for me recently:  Digital Learning Guides

We have all seen the classroom trend to go digital.  Digital interactive notebooks, google classroom, online reading programs and many other digital resources are becoming very popular in the classrooms.  More and more teachers are having their students working on individual digital devices to complete activities that were once done with a pencil and paper.  And - I LOVE it!  I think the idea of going "paperless" is awesome and opens up a whole new world for our students.

How do you get started, though?  If you've spent your entire teaching career thus far using activity sheets and the hard-copy version of everything, it can be over-whelming to start thinking about converting over to a digital learning and teaching format.

I want to help with that!



Now - to be clear, converting to more of a digital approach to teaching CAN be time consuming, no doubt.  And, just like with any technology, there will be glitches.  So, you must give yourself (and your students) a little breathing room to figure it all out.

Also - stick around to the end of this post, because I have an exciting FREE training opportunity to help support your technology endeavors as well as a FREEBIE to send your way!

Here's what I DO know - technology is engaging.  And when used right, it can have a huge impact on a students' understanding and retention of the content you are teaching them.  Technology can make even the most boring topics come to life!

So - what am I doing to help support this new digital trend?  Well, I am hard at work behind the scenes creating digital learning guides to help support teachers in their quest to integrate more technology into their teachers.

WHAT ARE DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES?
In case you're wondering what I am talking about, let me lay it all out for you:

A digital learning guide (DLG) is an interactive PDF or PowerPoint file that allows students to navigate freely in the guide using embedded clickable links.


Need a visual?

What makes DLGs so practical for classroom use is that with a DLG, students can read and learn information that is typically shown in textbooks in a more engaging way.  DLGs can be used to teach almost any topic or skill.  On top of that, DLGs can have links to other websites, youtube videos, and more - all in one click.  It’s really a one-stop shop learning experience for your students.

WHAT TYPES OF DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES ARE THERE?
DLGs can take many different forms depending on the content that is being taught.  I've created three main types of DLGs:  
  • Interactive timelines
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Categorized Learning Guides
I've created a short video to help explain each kind - take a look:


HOW CAN I USE DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES IN MY CLASSROOM?
I love how DLGs can fit right into your current teaching format. Whole-group, small-group, partners, or as individuals - DLGs can support your learners in any setting!

If your students don't have access to individual digital devices, you can easily display a DLG on a SMARTBoard or other whiteboard where you can explore the DLG as a whole class.

DLGs can be placed at small-group/partner centers for students to explore as a center activity. Use DLGs to help students practice or reinforce a skill that you've been teaching, or even introduce a new topic/skill.

If you have access to a class-set of digital devices (iPads, tablets, chrome books...etc), students can navigate through a DLG on their own and at their own pace.  I love this set-up because it allows the teacher to monitor, assist, and provide support for individual students as needed while the class is working from their own device.   

One of the best features of a digital learning guide is the ability to link out to additional websites, videos, and resources right from the DLG that will enhance and build upon the content in the DLG. For example, in my Civil War Interactive Timeline, students have the opportunity to not only read about the different battles and events on the Civil War, but to also watch reenactment videos of those battles, or look at websites that contain actual photographs from the war itself.  DLGs make it possible for students to both learn AND experience the topic in a variety of ways. 

HOW CAN I KEEP MY STUDENTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR LEARNING WHEN USING DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES?
As with any activity in your classroom, you want to give your students a purpose for their learning and then hold them accountable to that learning.  With all of my DLGs, I have students complete a flipbook that uses information from the DLG. These are simple flipbooks that allow students to focus and enjoy the DLG, yet still support their learning, and give them something to show for it.  

The flipbooks help students pull out the most important information from the DLG while create a kid-friendly resource that they can refer to again and again.  They require less cutting and assembly than an interactive notebook, but still engage students in the same way as interactive notebooks do.  

HOW DO I GET STARTED IN CREATING AND USING DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES?
By now you might be thinking - these look great, but - how do I even go about creating one?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  I really do believe that using DLGs in your classroom can take your students' learning experience to the next level.  But - I also know that the idea of creating them can seem a little over-whelming.  

I've been creating DLG for a while now and have gotten into a bit of a flow that allows me to move through the creation process faster.  Although I have several DLGs now available in my TpT store (and have many more to come), I wanted to help teachers also feel encouraged and supported to make their own to meet the needs of their students.



I created a FREE 4-part video mini-training series where I walk you through, step-by-step how to plan, design, and use DLGs in your classroom.  I am happy to share this free training with you, because I know that the digital trend in the classroom will not be going away anytime soon, and that it often feels like "going-digital" is just one more thing to add to your to-do list.  I want to help ease the process by providing this value-packed training series that will send you well on your way.  

HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL LEARN IN THE TRAINING:
PART 1: Planning and Designing Your Digital Learning Guide 
In this 30-minute training video you will learn:
  • about the different types of DLGs you might consider creating for your students 
  • an effective and simple planning process for creating a DLG that will help you smoothly create a DLG more efficiently  
  • how to create a DLG from scratch using PowerPoint-  I literally walk you through how to design the slides of your DLG and how to arrange text and graphics to create eye-catching DLGs for your students
  • some important tips on certain design elements that will help make your DLG kid-friendly and easy to navigate

PART 2:  How to Create Hyperlinks in Your Digital Learning Guide to Make it Easy to Navigate Through
In this 10-minute training video you will learn:
  • how to add hyperlinks to link up to other slides within your DLG so that students can freely pop around the guide to different slides in any order that they'd like
  • ideas for addition places that you can link to that will bring your students outside the DLG to enhance their learning experience

PART 3:  Putting Together the Final Touches
In this 20-minute training video you will learn:
  • how to use DLG in your classroom
  • the final steps to complete before letting your students use your DLG
  • how to properly save your DLG
  • how to make your DLGs easy to access from any device (computer, iPads, tablets, chrome books...etc)

PART 4:  BONUS VIDEO- Differentiated Instruction with Digital Learning Guides
In this 18-minute training video you will learn:
  • why adding audio to your DLG could benefit your students in a big way
  • how to include audio in your DLG to provide differentiated instruction
  • different ways to include audio in your DLG



GIVE DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDES A TRY FOR FREE!
I understand that this post may be a lot to take in, especially if you have never used a DLG in your classroom before.

I hope that you'll join me for the training series to really help you take action on creating digital learning guides for your own classroom, but I also realize you may need to test the waters a bit before you commit to creating your own DLG.

That's why I created a FREE DLG for you to try out to see how it might work in your classroom. This particular DLG is all about teaching nonfiction text features; great for grades 3-5.

It would be a nice companion to your lessons on text features and can be used as a whole class, in your guided reading groups, or even at a literacy center!  This resource also comes with a student flipbook to help students create a resource on nonfiction text features that they can refer to all year.  You can see a quick video on how this guide works below:





DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO CREATE YOUR OWN DIGITAL LEARNING GUIDE RIGHT NOW?
I totally get that these DLGs will take some time to prep and get ready for your students.  So, if you don't have the time right now to commit to creating your own, feel free to check out the DLGs that I already have available.  See all my DLGs here or click on each image below to check out a specific one!









And - when you're ready, join me for the training series on creating your own DLG.

Here's to a more engaged classroom through digital learning guides!

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2 comments

  1. I am so excited that you are doing this. I learned about your DLGs this past summer in your online back to school event. I had so hoped to create at least one this year and here we are in the last quarter of school and I haven't created one yet. I am definitely going to participate in your training series. Thank you so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beth! So excited to have you inside the training! Hopefully it will be the push you need to get a DLG made!

      Have fun and good luck!

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