Google Apps “GAFE Smashing” activities — Part 2: Digital Differentiation

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Monday, May 2, 2016

Google Apps “GAFE Smashing” activities — Part 2: Digital Differentiation

Google Apps gives teachers great opportunities to reach students at their own unique level. By smashing YouTube with other apps, great digital differentiation can happen.

Google Apps gives teachers great opportunities to reach students at their own unique level. By smashing YouTube with other apps, great digital differentiation can happen.

When students and educators start smashing Google Apps together, creative activities start to emerge that aren’t possible with a single app.

We’re exploring “GAFE Smashing” in a series of posts. In our last post, we saw two creative examples of “dynamic docs” — ways to use Google Docs in conjunction with other apps. The result was engaging, interactive learning experiences for students.

Today, we switch our focus to differentiation. Technology in the classroom lets us duplicate ourselves as teachers. Plus, it provides learning opportunities for students that guide them to resources and activities that meet their personalized needs.

Today’s two GAFE Smashes both utilize YouTube, utilizing videos that already exist on YouTube or videos that we create ourselves. They’re not about showing everyone the same content, though. They meet each student where he/she is!

Forms, YouTube and More

Submitted by Nicky Singer (Twitter: @SingerTeach)

How to do it: With Google Classroom’s “Make a Copy for each Student” option, it’s easy to make cookie cutter files for all of your students. But differentiating your learning experiences with Google is easier than you think!

With this GAFE Smash, we’ll use Google tools to flip the classroom AND differentiate to students’ ability levels!

We’ll create a Google Form that will direct students to YouTube video lessons, interactive Slides and other activities that are right on their levels. (Think “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories!)

Google Forms

Create a form that will your students through the learning experience. Add a multiple-choice question that you want students to answer. When creating a question, use the vertical ellipses to select ‘Go to section based on answer’.

Nicky Add section

Click for full size. (Screen capture by Nicky Singer)

If students are correct in their selection, they can move on to the next question with new problems, skills, or content.

If they did not get the answer correct, they can be moved to another section for remediation of skills or content.
You can decide the learning path for the student based on their answer.

Nicky based on answer

Click for full size. (Screen capture by Nicky Singer)

When you add questions and remediation videos/practice, you’ll want to add each one in a different section. This will put everything on a separate page so all the content won’t run together. Plus, you’ll be able to jump from section to section as necessary. Use the “Add section” button to put each part in a new section.

Google Forms + YouTube

In each section, you can embed a video from YouTube. Either upload your own video or find a great one that already exists on YouTube. This helps to differentiate content by level of understanding/mastery.

Nicky add video

Click for full size. (Screen capture by Nicky Singer)

Google Forms + YouTube + Google Sheets = Digital Differentiation #DitchBook-style!

When you’re all done and you want to review student work, view the work as a Google Sheet or download the spreadsheet file (to be viewed in Excel or another spreadsheet program).

Click for full size. (Screen capture by Nicky Singer)

Click for full size. (Screen capture by Matt Miller)

BONUS: You can also review all their work in one handy Google Sheet. You can use the Add-on Flubaroo to auto-grade the assignment and send feedback instantaneously to students or you can set it to release when you choose. Get Flubaroo and learn how it works here.

Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate!

Differentiate by Content: Change the learning path using this tool as a pre-assessment.
Differentiate by Process: Offer different ways for students to learn: video, audio, podcast, infographic, text, etc.
Differentiate by Product: Alter the types of learning tasks asked to meet your learners.
Differentiate for Struggling Learners: Provide remediated instruction in the moment to support students who haven’t quite grasped the content and/or mastered the skill.
Differentiate for Extended Learning: Provide more challenging topics and questions.

These aren’t just teacher-created. Give your students a chance to make these GAFE Smashes as a review strategy and a way to promote reciprocal teaching in your classroom community.


Drawings and YouTube

Submitted by Matt Miller (Twitter: @jmattmiller)

How to do it: YouTube is more than a place to search for videos! It can be a powerful video creation tool, allowing you to edit videos as well as link them together for a very interactive video experience. These linked videos can create a very customized experience for learners, guiding them to the resources that will help them the most.

One of the greatest benefits of this: short, linked videos are much more likely to be viewed in their entirety. Which would you prefer to watch — a short video or a long one? Often, if we’re learning, we choose short videos. Watching lots of short linked videos keeps viewers more engaged in the interactive process. When they finish a video, it’s a “quick win” that encourages them to watch another. “That first one was quick. Why not watch the next one?” The results is momentum, which is powerful in learning!

I did this to illustrate the newest changes to Google Classroom in August 2015. Here are the steps I took:

1. I charted out the different videos that I wanted to link together. In my post, I outlined 12 ways to use Google Classroom’s newest features, so I wanted to have 12 quick tutorial videos. I also wanted to have a single “table of contents” style video as a starting point.

2. I created the “table of contents” video. This is where Google Drawings came in quite handy. I created a drawing listing all of the videos in the series. This drawing (which you can see in the embedded video above or here) just uses text boxes for all the text, my trash can and blog logo as images, and a picture file that’s as big as the whole drawing as a background. When I finished, I created a video of that image using Snagit (a free Google Chrome extension to take video of what’s on your screen). It was just a video of a static image. When done, I uploaded that “table of contents” video to YouTube and added music to it using or Creator Studio (YouTube > My Channel > Video Manager > Edit the video you want to add music to).

Click for full size. (Screenshot by Matt Miller)

Click for full size. (Screenshot by Matt Miller)

3. I created a “next video” Google Drawing for the end of my tutorial videos (right). I wanted to make it easy for my viewers to get to the next video in the series or return to the table of contents video. This drawing was created much like the “table of contents” drawing explained above.

4. I created the tutorial videos. I loaded Google Classroom in my Google Chrome web browser to the place where I wanted the tutorial video to start. Using Snagit, I recorded a brief tutorial video of my screen (make sure your microphone is turned on in Snagit!). At the end of each video, I switched to the “next video” drawing (see No. 3 above) and recorded that for 10 seconds or so. When I finished, I sent it to YouTube (click the three dots button in the bottom right of Snagit). When my videos were done, I went to the Video Manager (YouTube > My Channel > Video Manager) and clicked the “edit” button on each one to change the title and description of each one. (This is where you’d change the privacy settings if you wanted … from fully public to unlisted to private.)

5. Once all the videos were on YouTube, I started linking them together. I used the annotations in Creator Studio (YouTube > My Channel > Video Manager > Click “edit” for the video you want to edit > Click the “annotations” tab).

  • On the “table of contents” video, I used “Add annotation …” to create a spotlight annotation. It’s clear so you can still see the text behind it. With each one I created, I checked the “link” option at the bottom and inserted a link to the video where it would take viewers.
  • In each tutorial video, I did the same thing at the end of the video. When the “next video” drawing appeared in the video, I added an annotation that linked to the next video and back to the table of contents.

Applications for class: If teachers create their own tutorial videos or find pre-existing videos on YouTube, they can create these interactive videos to make it easy for students to find and watch valuable resources. Students can create these videos to teach other students or demonstrate learning regarding content from class. This is also a great end-of-the-year summary if you’ve been using video throughout the year. It creates a sort of portfolio of student video work.

These videos work great for teachers of teachers! If you’re coaching other educators in technology, instruction or anything else, these quick linked videos make a very viewer-friendly experience that encourages viewers to watch all of your videos.


Submit a GAFE Smash

Would you like to get in on the fun? Do you have a great combination of Google Apps to use in the classroom? Submit your idea using the Google Form below (or click here to view it in its own tab). We will use as many as we can!

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Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

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  • Roberta says:

    There are so many incredible ideas in this post! Thank you so much. I read and re-read your posts all the time. I always find new things to try no matter how many times I read them! I have so many things I want to get started on over the summer!

  • jacques verschuren says:

    excellent post! Thank you…..

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