Victor Hicks is an Elementary Technology Instructor in Atlanta Public Schools. In addition to his role as teacher, “Coach Hicks” is the proud coach and choreographer of the National Champion Psi Phi Beta Step Team. Coach Hicks uses Applied Digital Skills to build a strong foundation of technological knowledge for his young students.
What part of the curriculum has had the greatest impact upon your students?
For me, it’s all about the presentation. When my students see a woman presenting in the videos, or they see a person of color presenting, they think to themselves, “Yes, I can do this. This is someone who looks like me.” It helps young kids feel empowered when they use the technology.
If they start younger, students can use these skills in a compounding way throughout their education.
What specific skills do your students gain from the curriculum?
Skills they can actually use in real life. For example, collaboration. We tell kids to work together all the time. But collaboration is not something you can teach to young kids as an abstract concept. They have to learn it through experience. They experience how Google Apps allow them to work together without having to be physically together. The Applied Digital Skills curriculum teaches young students how to collaborate in real time.
The Applied Digital Skills curriculum teaches young students how to collaborate in real time.
You teach K-5. How young is too young when it comes to using Applied Digital Skills?
In my opinion, the younger the better. If they start younger, students can use these skills in a compounding way throughout their education. I had a 2nd-grader last year. Her class did the If-Then Adventure Stories lesson on Google Slides. Afterwards, she told me she knew how to make a presentation on her own. She even knew how to add speaker notes. These kids are acquiring foundational skills that will carry them through high school and college and beyond.
It helps young kids feel empowered when they use the technology.
How does Applied Digital Skills help you achieve your goals as a teacher?
Young students come to class with differing degrees of technological knowledge. Some students speed ahead. Others move more slowly. Because the Applied Digital Skills curriculum is so thorough, it may easily be adapted to all types of students. I can give extra help to students who are moving at a slower pace, while at the same time the more advanced students can push ahead. No one gets left behind.