There is a way of using Google Slides to create activities that learners can do alongside each other individually or in groups.
Check out the presentation below to see how. Click on the full screen icon (two arrows) in the bottom right corner to see a larger version.
To find templates for creating collaborative workspaces in Slides, check out the collection at Ditch that Textbook: ditchthattextbook.com/resources/templates
In the Sample Jamboard folder you can see activities by some Ontario literacy practitioners (and me) that you can copy and adapt to the Google slides method.
You might have heard about MTML’s smartphone learning modules but we want to go a bit deeper to explore how they are applied in the literacy field and what other programs are doing when it comes to using smartphones with their learners. In this showcase, we explored the modules and discussed how smartphones are changing the way we learn, teach and use technology on a daily basis.
Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy
Also known as MTML, is a network of organizations and individuals supporting adult literacy in Toronto and York Region.
Ambreen Ahmad, Managing Director
Ambreen has 20 years of experience in the education field. Possessing a Masters in English Literature and in Educational Planning and Management, she has maintained successful positions as a Vice Principal, English Language Instructor, Manager HR, Communication Executive and Literacy practitioner.
Currently, she is working as a Managing Director at Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy, a non-profit organization that supports adult literacy in Toronto and York Region. Her previous work experience and life-long learning certificates and diplomas bring a wealth of information to develop learning strategies, recruitment procedures and governance.
Her dedication and determination in helping individuals grow and develop are highlighted in all her professional achievements. She is also passionate about volunteering and has been an ardent volunteer in many non-profits across GTA. She loves to cook and paint in her free time.
LAMP Adult Learning Program provides a foundation to the first step back to learning, with a strength based community approach. Learners achieve health and well being, develop independence, further education for training and employment needs. They focus on personal goals of health, civic engagement, social inclusion, and quality of life. Learners improve their reading, writing, and/or digital literacy (smartphone, ipad and laptop/desktop) skills in our community-based literacy and basic skills program.
Leads creative development and collaboration with Support Organizations and
in programs at LAMP.
Community Literacy Worker
Digital and Computer, Reading and Writing Instructor.
Community Literacy Worker
Digital and Computer, Reading and Writing Instructor.
The Skills Upgrading Center provides customized training programs and job-specific workshops to assist adults in York-Simcoe in improving their employment prospects, preparing for a higher education, and acquiring the skills they need for a successful future.
Brittany Horlings, Program and Marketing Assistant
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES MENTIONED BY PARTICIPANTS
Connected for Success – Low income affordable plans from Rogers (mobile, internet and TV options)
On November 16, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our 12th Community Gabfest.
The theme was Games and gambits – keeping learning fun.
The conversation starter was “What are your favourite games or community building activities to use with learners?”
This gabfest was about the games and activities learners love. We shared our ideas for keeping learners engaged by building community and having fun together.
We started by talking about the games we like and why we like them and then we played a general knowledge Kahoot! that Guylaine had made for us.
We shared some resources:
Then we asked:
What are your favourite games or community building activities to use with learners?
Favourite games and activities
Crosswords & Wordsearches
Math and Science
Thank you Gabfesters for your collegiality and for sharing your knowledge and sense of fun.
In this short presentation, you will find:
Since many learners have access to mobile phones and use them on a daily basis, literacy programs started using texting to engage with their clients.
Jane Wouda, the Lead Instructor at the Training & Learning Centre of Renfrew County talked to us about the software they use at the program and the benefits/changes they have noticed.
Paul Crane, Founder and CEO of Local Text Marketers provides texting software (including a custom phone number to display when sending a text). Paul demonstrated how CONNECTsms works and answered our questions about texting tools.
On October 19, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our eleventh Community Gabfest.
The theme was Engaged Learners.
We started with these questions:
We had planned for these questions as well but we did not get that far. Maybe we should have a Gabfest about over-prepping 🙂
Before we got into the nitty gritty we warmed up by introducing ourselves in two words:
Then we thought about our own engagement. What keeps us engaged when we are learning and what can be barriers to engagement.
The things that help us stay engaged are:
Somebody asked about the playdough strategy:
The barriers to engagement are:
We had a conversation about some of the points that resonated with us.
We moved into break out rooms to discuss the questions:
And here is what the groups reported back:
How do we engage learners?
How do we know when they are engaged?
A variation on the question of engagement arose.
We will think about this as a future Gabfest topic.
Thank you Gabfesters for your engagement :), knowledge, and wisdom.
On September 21, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our tenth Community Gabfest.
The theme was “Emergent Curriculum”
We started with these questions:
You can see the responses to the first question on frame 3 of the Jamboard.
We decided to start with the question posed by a participant: Can we also talk about how we understand the word ‘curriculum’?
What is curriculum?
Where does pedagogy end and curriculum begin?
What does emergent curriculum mean to you?
We settled on the idea that emergent curriculum is based on the principle that people learn most effectively when they are actively engaged in experiences that are meaningful and relatable to their own lives—when the curriculum accounts for their interests, strengths, needs, and lived realities.
And then a participant asked, “Does emergent curriculum require experiential learning?”
Does the teacher involved in emergent curriculum on a day-to-day basis think of it as an exercise of action research?
How does an emergent curriculum approach engage and empower teachers?
And we decided to stop there. This conversation gave us a lot to thing about and raised some questions for the next Gabfest.
Thank you Gabfesters for your enthusiasm, knowledge, and camaraderie.
On June 15, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our ninth Community Gabfest.
The theme was “ChatGPT – delightful or scary?”
This topic came from our discussion at Gabfest 8. We wanted a place to talk about what we are finding delightful about ChatGPT and “some of these things that scare the living daylights out of us. I mean, if we can’t have each other to talk about this, then we are alone in our fear and that’s not a good place to be.”
We started with a little background on ChatGPT in particular and Artificial Intelligence in general. We shared our experiences and these resources:
What is ChatGPT? from AlphaPlus: a resource a a resource for teachers/instructors with explanations and ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning and program administration in an adult literacy setting.
My Digital Companion: Making Sense of ChatGPT from Contact North: a resource for students/learners to help them use this tool safely, ethically and creatively for learning.
ChatGPT: Leveraging AI to Support Personalized Teaching and Learning in the June 2023 Adult Literacy Education Journal by Sarah Cacicio and Rachel Riggs: a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in an adult literacy setting.
Leveraging ChatGPT Instead of Banning from Contact North: a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in a college setting.
EdTechTeacher Chat GPT Tips by Tom Daccord: a resource for teachers/instructors with ideas for how to use ChatGPT for learning in a K-12 setting. You can find links to the tip sheets in our resource (they are not easy to find on the EdTechTeacher website).
People were asking about text-to-speech options and Guylaine shared this resource: Speech recognition and text to speech tools for various devices
We talked about where we are on the delightful to scary continuum.
We were pretty much dotted across the continuum.
We did not all stay in a fixed place.
As one person said at the closing of the Gabfest, “I felt like I was watching a ping pong game. I was going from one side to the other.” Many of us are in a place where we read one thing and we feel quite positive and then read another that fills us with apprehension.
Here are some of the things people have tried so far:
We asked three questions:
Somebody posed the question about what happens if we stop using certain skills ourselves and turn them over to AI.
“What do people think about the things that technology can do for you as opposed to you doing it for yourself? Is that of value? Is that an asset? Is that threatening?”
What skills and abilities will we lose if we do not do our own problem-solving when we are writing?
As one participant reported from a breakout room discussion:
“You can you can use AI to write a great cover letter or a great essay but what happens when the rubber meets the road and you actually have to do something on your own. At that point, we’d call them pseudo skills to be able to solve something or write something — you just don’t have those fundamental tools. It’s the ultimate fake it till you make it. Are we are we encouraging people to to take the easy road? One of the things that came out of our discussion in our group was that we have to teach learners that this is a tool like computer is a tool, or hammer is a tool, or a screwdriver is a tool. It’s a tool, and you have to learn how to use it properly because if you use a hammer the wrong way, you end up with a very sore thumb.”
We talked about some of the ways that technology supports literacy learners who are working with emerging literacy skills and how tools such as Grammerly help literacy learners, student writers and anyone struggling to write clear sentences.
We had a conversation about how text-to-speech options support emergent writers and Guylaine shared this resource: Speech recognition and text to speech tools for various devices
We talked about the value of essay writing. In programs where learners are moving on to further education, a lot of time is spent on learning how to write essays. We talked about how this skill is something we only use in school and that many people will not need these skills once they have completed their school-based education. What other things do we learn by writing essays and are these things useful to us in our beyond school settings? We didn’t get to all the answers but the question of what we gain and what we lose when we adopt new technologies is always an interesting one.
We talked about the ways that AI will impact the work of preparing literacy learners for a world where AI exists. Some of our questions are:
We talked about how new technologies can amplify inequities. We saw some of the ways this had profound impacts on people during the pandemic. We touched on the idea of an AI bill of rights and how applications of AI beyond educational ones — such as facial recognition — can increase barriers along with gains in efficiency and convenience.
“There are always fears around new tech… It’s a good thing, it motivates us to find ethical and equitable solutions 🙂
Or maybe it’s the end of the world… Hard to say!”
Thank you Gabfesters for your energy, generosity, wisdom and friendship. With your help, we won’t fall off the learning curve.
The SAMR model was developed in 2010 by education researcher Ruben Puentedura and lays out four tiers of online learning, presented roughly in order of their transformative power.
SAMR is a reflection tool that can help educators think about how digital technology integration is supporting learning in specific blended learning lessons and activities.
The SAMR model gives educators a common way of communicating about technology integration. The SAMR framework can help us talk about the ways we are using technology, assess technologies to see how they will fit our context and help us plan future uses.
SAMR helps us ask and answer questions about what teachers and learners will gain from the technology before implementing it.
SAMR should not be regarded as a mountain to climb. Good technology integration isn’t about living at the top of the SAMR model; it’s about being aware of the range of options and picking the right strategy—or strategies—for each context and learning outcome.
Dr. Puentedura proposed that curriculum becomes more learner-centred and activities become more learner-driven as we move from substitution to redefinition but, teachers have to consider the capacity of the program to support inventive uses of technology and the capacity of learners to use technology in inventive ways.
When planning the integration of digital technology into activities, lessons and curriculum, teachers often start with substitution and modification. As teachers and learners become comfortable in a technologically enhanced learning environment, the last two levels of the SAMR model—modification and redefinition—can be added to the mix.
We can use digital technology to support learner agency as they make choices over how, when and where to learn. As they expand their power over their own learning, learners will enhance their ability to make choices over the what and the why. Facilitators leverage digital technology and online learning to give learners flexibility over the rate and pace at which they learn.
Digitally-enhanced and online learning spaces provide learners with opportunities to make decisions about how to learn or how to demonstrate learning. Empowering learner voice and choice over what materials they access or how they complete assessments can increase learner autonomy in a way that is manageable for learners.
Digitally enhanced and online learning means learning can happen anywhere and at any time. Facilitators and learners can be in the same bricks-and-mortar spaces or at a distance from each other. Having access to online learning materials, especially environments that provide feedback, provides learners with choice over when to learn.
We can provide choice in simple ways by allowing learners agency over the pace, time and place of learning. We can create a doc with links, a full HyperDoc or something in between—depending on the needs of the learners and our own capacity for prep time—that gives learners agency over a learning pathway.
Being creative and finding engaging options for learners to explore and develop their own “personal sense of wonder” while learning inspires teachers and learners alike.