Digital Intervention. How can we, as teachers, use technology to reach our struggling students and meet their individual needs?
First, take a look at this video that introduces the 6 benefits for Digital Intervention in the Google Classroom.
The first time I used Google Docs during intervention, I was immediately struck by the ways I could help individual students who normally didn’t request help. In May, I was working on a writing assignment with students using Google. I opened up several tabs and was able to click through and see what they were writing.
Digital Intervention: Monitor without Looking Over Their Shoulder
When students are writing in a Google Doc (or Slide), you can watch them type. In fact, you can see right away who is writing and who isn’t. Also, you can see if a student misunderstood the prompt and redirect them before they waste too much time.
The best thing about this is being able to see what they are doing without actually standing over the top of them making them uncomfortable. Recently, I had someone looking over my shoulder while I was trying to work and the physical proximity made it hard for me to concentrate. If it makes me uncomfortable, it probably makes them uncomfortable too.
Digital Intervention: Students Work at their Own Pace
One of the challenges of giving direct lessons in front of the classroom is pacing. For instance, some kids want / need you to slow down. Other kids get frustrated if you slow down. Delivering a lesson in Google Slides allows students to go as fast or as slow as they need.
Another great benefit is that quizzes can be dispersed and taken when kids are ready. A student can take a quiz, realize they need more practice and then take it again later without any of their friends knowing.
Digital Intervention: Self Checking
Grading papers after school is not a teacher’s favorite thing to do. Catching their mistake after the student has done an entire assignment incorrectly isn’t very helpful.
Google Forms Quizzes now allow you to include answer keys. Now, you can even set it to stop and give a student feedback if they make a mistake.
Many websites are available to practice specific skills that can give immediate feedback, like Khan Academy or Multiplication.com.
When I create resources for my students in Google Slides that have correct answers, I often hide them under a scroll so they can check and see if they did it correctly. This allows the students to catch their mistakes before they become a habit.
Digital Intervention: Private Conversations through Comments
Have you ever noticed your classroom is the quietest place ever when you are trying to have a private conversation? As soon as you are quiet, everyone wants to hear what you say to someone else. This causes some students to avoid asking for help. They don’t want the attention that talking to the teacher may bring.
Enter Google Comments.
I have had the best conversations with shy students in the Google Comments section. If I see a student looking frustrated and there is no movement on their screen, I’ll send a comment, “Would you like some help?” Some kids get up and come talk to me. But my ELLs, or shy kids, or boys that are too cool to be seen with the teacher, will write back.
Comments allow kids, who might never ask in front of their classmates, to ask private questions and get one on one help. Using Google Comments allows us to have a real time private dialogue.
Digital Intervention: Built in Research
There are a lot of built in features that help students. For example, students can right click on a word to have it defined. Also, they can open the research tool and look at pictures for a word they don’t know. Google Text-to-Speech allows students to access text that may be beyond their reading level. This can also be great for students to listen to the flow of their writing and actually hear things they need to correct. Of course, there are built in research tools such as the dictionary and thesaurus as well.
Digital Intervention: Differentiate
When you give your assignments digitally, you can differentiate without having to move students to different parts of the room. If using a Google Slides resource, you can add or delete slides to meet the students different needs. Alternatively, you can extend the assignment time or shorten an assignment. Sometimes you may even send different quizzes. Some students may need to do an assignment again. Others may get a remedial assignment when you realize they don’t have the background knowledge they need. For quick or advanced students, you can email or comment with extension activities.
Now, the possibilities for simple private differentiation are endless.
Digital Resources for the Google Classroom