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Applied Digital Skills is a free online, video-based curriculum created by our friends at Google. The lessons prepare you and Late Elementary
Middle and High School students to take on the digital challenges that we confront in today’s workplace or home.
The lessons are all project-based, authentic and utilize real tools.
They are linked with ISTE and most State standards. Topics include The four C’s, Organization, Budgeting, Research, group decision making and problem-solving from the” practical skills perspective.”
From the tech perspective the skills utilized are: Coding, spreadsheets, website publishing, data visualization and more.
After spending a few days reviewing lessons and materials I’ve decided to compose a list of some of the attributes that stood out to me.
10 reasons why you’re gonna love applied digital skills:
1. Complete and ready-to-go lessons
All lessons are Complete and Ready-to-go with concise lists of skills that are covered in each lesson. You need no additional materials… they’re all here.
2. Videos are pausable and reviewable
Because the content is video-based a student (or you for that matter) can play any sections as many times as is needed to help understand a topic.
3. Small digestible segments
All of the lessons are broken down into shorter segments that make them easy to fit in to even the most limited class periods… so if you teach a 40-minute class that is really 30 minutes due to the fact that… at the beginning of class, the students all need to get a Chromebook from one cart in the back of the room evoking pandemonium reminiscent of the deleted scenes from “Lord of the Flies”… these lessons are for you.
4. Not tech for tech’s sake
With applied Digital skills the technology is taught as a means to an and or a way to solve a problem. It’s not just learning the tech for the sake of learning it. It’s tech the way it will be used in the real world. The way it should be learned.
5. Reflective conclusion segments
Every lesson concludes with a reflective summary that makes the student understand why they just completed the steps they did and this facilitates knowledge they can transfer to other areas
6. Lessons include collaboration
Every lesson that I reviewed (and I did not get to do all of them) appeared to have some collaborative segment that involved sharing some kind of online document that requires a contribution from all participants.
7. Lessons that involve coding explain and encourage real coding practices
Not all lessons involve coding, however … The ones that do … are practical …they Emphasize concepts like ….. It’s ok to make mistakes and fix them… the importance of Commenting your code and Looking for coding solutions online (things that real programmers do)
8. Optional integration with Google Classroom
While Applied digital skills includes it’s own LMS system, teachers using Google classroom CAN post their chosen lessons right to their Classroom Classwork Feeds
9. Most lessons include digital citizenship and safety
While some lessons are obviously centered around Digital Citizenship and safety, many include these concepts in small teachable moments within the lesson segments
10. Designed for today’s job market
The entire platform is built around 21st-century skills for today’s job market. The lessons are based on the types of challenges and problem solving that we potentially encounter every day
Applied Digital skills covers a lot of ground very strategically…. if you want to know more… look for my scheduled workshops.
How do I Combine Multiple PDF Files into One using Google Drive?
Most of the posts on this blog are the results of questions I’ve gotten from colleagues, students and friends. This one came from a music colleague of mine. Or is she a friend??… I’m not sure…she definitely is not a student of mine. All I know for sure is that she had my cell number and wasn’t reluctant to use it. She wanted to combine PDF’s of her lyric sheets together, in the order that she was to perform them on her gig for quick access.
As a longtime user and owner of Adobe Acrobat Pro, my first response was to ask her if she had a license for that app. She did not. There was not a lot of time to try solutions and while I know there are numerous ways to accomplish this, I quickly asked her to send me the files so that I could concatenate them. After taking much abuse for using the term “concatenate” with words like pseudo-intellectual, pretentious, pompous and show-off being flung at will. I provided her with the technical definition of concatenate: Sticking stuff together, we re-settled and she sent me the files so that I could “combine” them. I used Adobe Acrobat Pro and everything turned out great. (With the possible exception of my damaged self image).
I sent the combined files back to her…. she was really happy and I gloated with sense of rebuilt self-worth. But…I knew there had to be a way that she could do this herself in Google Drive with some sort of add-on. I knew there had to be a way to not have my cell phone ringing with a destitute and helpless voice on the other end. The voice of a fellow human drowning in a sea of unmanaged PDF lyric sheets on her Google Drive. The thought of which would evoke chaos on any gig where you had to segue quickly from “Go Your Own Way” into “Lady Marmalade” without dropping a beat. Plus I was to play bass on the gig and I was not prepared to feel the wrath of such pandemonium.
So let’s get to the point. I discovered two add-ons that both succeeded in accomplishing our task. There are more but I stopped at two. The first one I tried was Sejda PDF from Sejda.com. This app has an impressive set of tools available that include merging, splitting, extracting pages etc. See the screenshot below. “Merge Split” did a great job for me, it was fast and easy. The only drawback, and it’s not necessarily a bad one, was that as I tried various tasks I was prompted to upgrade to a paid version of the application. This isn’t a criticism and if I needed the tools on a regular basis, I would consider the upgrade.
View of the Merge – Split Tool Options
This title needs some rethinking. This is the app that will be the feature of this post/screencast. It became so because of its simplicity and price… free. While it doesn’t boast the features that the first one had, it succeeded in performing the task with flying colors. With this one, as with the first, the process is simple:
- Make sure you have installed the add-on to your Google Account (see the screencast below)
- Select the PDF files you want to merge in your Google Drive
- Right click on one of the files
- Select open with and choose PDFMergy
- The rest will be self explanatory and is covered in the short tutorial below….enjoy and happy merging (concatenating).
How to Use Gmail’s SNOOZE Feature to Increase Productivity
Not everybody is happy with the 2018 Gmail upgrades. Some people I’ve encountered, are rather irate.
I ….. am not.
Our friends at Google have integrated a few features like a sidebar that gives us quick access to Keep, Calendars and Tasks. Additionally I love the fact that I can open an attachment without opening an email. After all. Who needs to read the obligatory “see attached” that is always in the content of an email that includes a requested document? This is only rivaled by “Oops… forgot to attach the file.” Something that can sometimes be avoided with Gmail’s undo feature.
All those things are cool, but my favorite new feature is SNOOZE. Why… because I am a procrastinator. Why do today what you can do tomorrow??? Or maybe I just prefer to prioritize my tasks by when they need to be completed.
Either way… SNOOZE rocks.
What does SNOOZE do?
It archives the selected email until you need it and then it resends it to you at your chosen date and time. Wicked!
Here’s how it works
Well it doesn’t, unless you have your gmail settings in conversation view. So to those of you that hate conversation view, this may be a reason to retry it.
How do I Set my Gmail to Conversation View?
- Go to settings
- Scroll to conversation view
- Select “Conversation View On”
- Click to save changes at the bottom of the page.
Now that you are in conversation view it is time to try to snooze an email. Let’s look at Snoozing from the inbox view
- When you mouse-over any email in your inbox, a set of icons appear on the subject line. The one furthest to the right is the snooze button. It looks like an analog clock. We used to tell time from devices that looked like this.
- When you click the SNOOZE icon, you will get a few choices
- Later Today
- This Weekend
- Next week
- Pick a date and time
These are somewhat self explanatory so in this example we will set a date and time.
But is there more than one way to SNOOZE?
Indeed there is!
If you select an email’s checkbox in your inbox, the SNOOZE icon will appear at the top of the page.
If you open an email. You will also see the snooze icon at the top of the page.
Where do my Snoozed Files Go?
To a happy place where trolls are squashed by fairies and people don’t post pictures of their cats on Facebook. NO! They are archived to the Snooze section of Gmail. This can be found on the left sidebar where you access your labels.
How do I SNOOZE?
I use snoozing anytime I know I want to respond to an email or act on a task for an email at a later date. This can be handy for:
- Responding to something important that may take too much time to focus on at the time you receive it.
- Reminding yourself when concert tickets will go on sale.
- Bill payment reminders
- Cancelling a trial account for a web service that may start charging you automatically after a specific date.
- Following up on a project that may not need your attention for several months.
- When I want to break up with my fiancee but it’s Christmas so I snooze one of her emails till February.
- When I get a promo that something really cool that I want is on sale till Sunday but I don’t get paid till Friday.
Got any more Ideas???? I’ll bet you do! Feel free to leave them in the comments below.
And Another Thing
Prior to the inclusion of the SNOOZE feature, I was relegated to using an annoying and cumbersome Add-on that shall remain nameless to get this functionality. I no longer need that add-on.