Daniel Watkins serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Technology at Ventura County Community College District. He is also an instructor at Santa Barbara Community College in the Computer Applications and Office Management Department. He has been teaching with Google Apps at SBCC for over 8 years. Applied Digital Skills helps Daniel prepare his students for success in a digital culture.
What drew you to use Applied Digital Skills?
Before Applied Digital Skills, I was already teaching very similar content but responsible for maintaining all my own materials. I often had to “hack” my digital skills courses by curating or creating resources and updating them every semester. I used any textbooks I could find—and there weren’t many. I even made my own videos, which is not easy to do! Over time I felt like I was becoming a video editor instead of an instructor. You can imagine how excited I am to use the ready-made and up-to-date Applied Digital Skills lessons.
Applied Digital Skills gives students the opportunity to participate in group projects and do research, share ideas, and learn together.
How does the Google curriculum fit with your teaching philosophy?
I always try to teach students how to learn from each other. This type of learning occurs in an environment where they can share their work and give feedback to each other. Applied Digital Skills gives students the opportunity to participate in group projects and do research, share ideas, and learn together.
Which Applied Digital Skills units have you used with students?
I taught Technology, Ethics and Security as a capstone course. The course appeals to a super wide range of students. I had everyone from teenagers to grandmothers taking the course. I had a number of high school students, a number of first generation college students, other teachers, students with disabilities, and more. I teach it all online. With Applied Digital Skills, all my students can communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
With Applied Digital Skills, all my students can communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
How has the Google curriculum impacted the everyday lives of your students?
The curriculum teaches students how to use digital skills in a real world context. I had two teenage students, Rhyan and Zeyn, who are known in Santa Barbara as the Piano Boys. They’ve been playing classical piano since childhood. They wanted to take their operation to the next level, so they decided to try the Build Your Online Business course. They’ve learned how to create their own website and are able to reach a lot more people now.