Have you ever created an assignment or activity only to realize that you need to take a few steps back to do a bit more teaching? This month I found myself once again in this position. I love it because just as we ask our students to be reflective, we as teachers have the chance to do the same. It’s in these moments of reflection that I find better ways of teaching something or supporting students in deeper learning.
For the last few months, I’ve been working on a design project with students. We started by working on identifying problems; picking one and telling the story of our problem by answering the 5Ws and how. From there, students had the opportunity to focus on a specific user so that they could create a new and innovative solution for that type of person. After coming up with great ideas, students determined the solution that they wanted to work on, storyboarded their solutions and got feedback from peers. As a part of our work, I always believe in the importance of having students share their ideas with authentic audiences and they do this through pitches. Throughout the process, there has been lots of learning and this point was no different. To do our pitches, we are using Google Slides. I realized that as much online learning as we have done over the years, students needed some teaching on how to insert pictures and how to change the font size. When the questions started coming in, I quickly realized that we were a little in over our heads. I wasn’t expecting this.
We’ve taken a pause and have been working through a Google Slides Scavenger Hunt that was adapted from one created by Caitlin Tucker a few years ago.
As we’re going through, students are working in partners trying to solve each challenge and are learning some of the basics of Google Slides. We’re taking our time, making sure that we understand how to do each of the tasks so that when it comes time to go back to our pitches, we can easily add pictures and text that will appeal to our audience.
With everything that we feel we have to “get through”, this has been a great reminder of taking the time to pause and explicitly teach so that students can successfully complete a task. I’m certain that after the scavenger hunt there will be things that we might forget about using Google Slides but I do know that with a few simple reminders, students will feel more successful in using the tool to share their innovative solutions with the world. More often than not, our pauses lead to deeper learning.