I made a decision a few years ago that the end of the school year did not mean the end of quality learning experiences for my classroom. Since that time, some of my most creative and popular units of study have been during the last four weeks of the year.
We’ve all been there, and we’ve heard students and teachers both wonder out loud, what the point of continuing past the last state-mandated assessment could be.
This year, one of the learning opportunities that I made available to my ninth grade Computer Information Applications students during the final grading period was a Google Innovative Student certification. “Wait,” you might be saying, “I didn’t know that Google offered a student certification.”
You’re correct. Google does NOT offer a student level certification track (which is the first thing I will change when I am one day CEO of Google). However, for those of us who teach at G-Suite schools who have always WANTED a student certification, I created one for myself. The students loved it!
The process was simple. I identified 5-6 areas of G-Suite expertise that I thought would help my students more successfully use Google applications in their other courses. I knew that I also wanted this to be a totally self-paced learning track. Third, I wanted it to include assessments that I did not have to grade myself.
I settled on four key areas of learning, then I went looking for resources. I found exactly what I was looking for in Atomic Learning‘s library of professional development. Now, Atomic Learning is primarily used by adults, so this was not a fluffy, youth-oriented project, but since my students are motivated ninth graders, I saw that as more of a plus than a minus.
I developed my marketing plan to sell the concept to the students and we were off and running. About 35% of my students opted to take advantage of this as an independent learning project. (The remainder of my students would be involved in other student-choice focused learning activities.)
The results were quite good. The feedback was mostly positive and the plan worked as I expected and needed for it to work. My students became more proficient using Google Drive, Google Slides, Google Calendar and Google Sheets. In the end, they had certificates from Atomic Learning to document their success, and they traded those in for an “official” Google Innovative Student certification from me.
Will I use adult-oriented professional development with students again? Absolutely! Not all students will be attracted to or be as excited about it as some, but it will definitely be on the menu again.