Engaging Your Students With Digital Learning Guides - The Classroom Nook

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Engaging Your Students With Digital Learning Guides


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.

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.  

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 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:





See all my DLGs here or click on each image below to check out a specific one!











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

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6 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!

      Delete
  2. Will you be offering any trainings on Digital Learning Guides in the near future? I am totally interested in creating these for my kiddos!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I've tried a couple of times to receive this free digital resource by entering my email and it's been a couple of hours and I still have not receive it. I checked my spam folder and I tried using a different email address to see if that was the problem. I was just wondering if there's anyway you can share this with me. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley! Thanks for reaching out!

      Please email me at classroomnook@gmail.com and I can you get the free resource. Thanks!

      Delete

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