Nancy Finn is the Technology Coordinator at the Charles Gates Dawes Comprehensive Gifted School. She teaches an online Spanish course, and offers a “Google for All” course. Nancy uses Applied Digital Skills because it empowers her students to make their own choices.
What do you like best about Applied Digital Skills?
My students can take a project or task and make it their own. When they know they can introduce their own personality into the projects they are more motivated to do the work. It keeps these teens happy, occupied and on task, which I appreciate!
Applied Digital Skills gives kids a sense of ownership when it comes to technology.
What is your students’ favorite unit in the curriculum?
They loved Plan An Event! I gave the kids the option to plan whatever event they wanted. We had a quinceañera, a shoe store opening, two pool parties, three soccer tournaments, a Cubs game—and many more. I always ask for feedback from my students after we complete a lesson. In this case, almost all the comments focused on personal choice: “It's your own choice… I like that I can call it my own... I feel like my voice is coming out in this project.” Applied Digital Skills gives kids a sense of ownership when it comes to technology.
What benefits do your students gain from the curriculum?
The majority of my students have a deep connection to Mexican culture. I use the Guide to an Area unit to help my students affirm and explore this connection. For a field trip, my class is going to the National Museum of Mexican Art and then to dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant. I let them choose five additional places to visit as well. The kids get to make their own map of the city and act as tour guides for one another. It’s a really cool opportunity to celebrate their contemporary culture, their history, their identity. Using the technology makes my students feel more at home.
Using the technology makes my students feel more at home.
How does the curriculum help you meet the needs of your students?
The best part is the flexibility. You can do all the lessons, or you can do the one lesson that’s most applicable to your class. You can make it fit the specific learning style of each one of your students.