There was a time when a teacher who was on the cutting edge of technology was creating all of their lessons on Powerpoint. While those days are long gone, they may also be returning. But more about that later. There are a number of tools available to teachers today that can incorporate an entire lesson. Some even have the flexibility to allow for either the teacher or the student to determine the pacing of the delivery. All of the tools in this series have various interactive features to take the static, teacher-centered Powerpoint and turn it into an engaging, student-centered learning experience.
Both Microsoft Powerpoint and Google Slides have a lot of similarities, and although Slides has some versatility that allows you and your students to be a lot more creative than MS Powerpoint typically allows, we’re going to take a quick tour of some tools that are more comprehensive.
Turned out this got kinda long, so over the next few days I’ll chunk this into 3 parts, in which I’ll cover hyperdocs, Symbaloo and Symabloo lesson plans, Blendspace, Nearpod, and Peardeck, sort of, SMART Notebook and Microsoft Powerpoint, particularly the Office Mix Add-in.
But we’ll start with a generic tool that both Microsoft and Google can accommodate, the “hyperdoc”. At its simplest, a hyperdoc is simply a digital document that lays out an entire lesson for students. It contains links (hyperlinks, hence the name, hyperdocs) to al of the resources students will need for the entire lesson. Click here to open a reading selection, click here to watch a video, click here to go to this interactive tutorial, or this website and click there to get to the template for the Slides or Powerpoint. Students can either record responses on the hyperdoc itself, if they each have their own editable copy, or there might be a link to a separate document, form, or presentation to respond on, or there may be a link to an online assessment tool.
You’ll find lots of resources for hyperdocs online, but one really comprehensive one is http://hyperdocs.co/ Here’s a sample from their site.
I’ve been using Symbaloo, a social bookmarking site, for years, to save online resources, and categorize them. Since both Google and Microsoft allow you to share items in OneDrive and Google Drive with a link, meaning each Doc or Slide, etc. is it’s own website, you could technically even save individual files as a block in a symbaloo page, which they call a Symbaloo Mix.
Why would you want to do that? Because you can customize your sharing permissions for each Mix, meaning you can share a mix with students. Symbaloo then becomes a hyperdoc of sorts, albeit with no real organization within that page, other than that you can order the tiles as you wish. Here’s a sample page of web resources I made about 2 years ago.
For more organization, Symbaloo came out with the Symbaloo Lesson Plans, which takes the format of a Symbaloo mix and allows teachers to create a learning path. Not only can you put the links together like in a hyperdoc, you can specify the order students access them. You can insert formative assessments in between other activities, and also give students options on their path, sort of a choose your own adventure. Do you want to go to the reading, the video, or the interactive to learn this piece. All the paths would then merge again so everyone takes the same assessment or goes on to the next topic. When you create an account, they’ll email you a link to the Lesson Plan of the week. I’ve been surprised, though that most of the LPOTW are strictly linear, and don’t take advantage of the choose your own adventure options. Here’s a recent example, although this one is heavy on formative assessments and doesn’t have as many learning activities as most do.