Create, Customize, and Share Lessons with Workbench Education

Post in News by Greg DaSilva on 27th September 2019

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Working with Workbench Education

Teachers looking to implement technology into their teaching can often be overwhelmed by the prospect. How can we ensure that we are effectively teaching content while providing students with the next generation technology and coding skills that will equip them to flourish in the future? Thankfully, Workbench is here to make this process easier.

Workbench Education is an edtech platform recently acquired by Google that allows teachers to efficiently create and share lessons. Blockly coding is integrated into the platform, meaning that we can create custom coding lessons within the platform. Equally importantly, Workbench hosts lessons created by edtech channel partners like Sphero, Makey Makey, SAM Labs, littleBits, and more! The great thing about this platform is that all of the pre-made lessons can be customized by teachers and easily pushed out to students’ Google Classrooms. Now, let’s explore how we can create and customize lessons.

Creating lessons

To create lessons on Workbench Education, hover over the Lessons tab and click on Create. Here we will be prompted first to give our lesson a title and description. We can add images to our lesson, create tags to make our lesson easily searchable, and choose which technology we want our students to use (Sphero, littleBits, etc). Standards from a number of states and national efforts like CCSS and NGSS can easily be attached to the lessons. Under the Programming tab, we can make and directly add instances of Blockly coding that we want our students to learn into our lessons. Resources contains bits of pre-made code that can be added to lessons as well.

Under Steps, we can create a step-by-step process for students to follow while completing the activity. The lesson format is such that our students are guided through a step-by-step process with assessments for accountability. For each step, we can give instructions, attach media (including Youtube videos), include instructor tips, and choose the type of assessment that students will be required to complete. Since Workbench is now a Google product, there is also seamless integration with Drive. The guided learning framework will allow our students to progress through the lesson on their own and free up the teacher to work in-depth with certain students and answer questions as they arise.

Customizing lessons

Since a number of edtech product companies have partnered with Workbench, their lessons can be found and accessed directly through the Workbench website. The way to locate these pre-made lessons is by going to the Lessons tab and selecting Channels. When you scroll down, you will see all of the vendors that have lessons available. Chances are you will find some technology that your school already has!

When we click on a product that we would like to use with a class, there will be a menu bar for browsing for lessons by standards, subject area, grade, etc. Alternatively, if we click on the magnifier on the right hand side of the screen we can search for lessons by name or keyword. Once we find a lesson, simply click to open it in the web browser. With the lesson open, the button allows us to copy the lesson to our own account and edit it freely. Do you want to add extra content or steps to ensure that certain standards are covered? Do you want to modify instructions to make certain steps more challenging? This sort of customization, and much more, is possible on Workbench!

Sharing in classroom

When our lessons are ready, the process of distributing to students is quite easy! Workbench integrates and syncs with Google Classroom, so we can add these lessons to Classroom directly from the site.

If we click on the Classes tab we can choose to sync with Google Classroom. Since Workbench is now a Google product, this integration is only going to become better. Alternatively, selecting Create your first class, will give us the option to manually add students one at a time, or with a roster.

Take-aways

Workbench Education’s clean format and easy-to-use interface will enable you to add another layer of interactivity to your teaching. The pre-made lessons which can be customized to fit any teacher’s instructional requirements, and the ease by which lessons can be distributed, means that our valuable planning time will be put to efficient use. Check it out and get inspired!

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