I had another chance to collaborate with my colleague, Dr. Duruhan Badraslioglu (aka Dr. B), who teaches Anatomy and Physiology. He is always looking to put an innovative spin on lesson plans and projects. What makes Dr. B so much fun to work with is that: 1. he always comes in for a brainstorm with a big goal in mind but a completely open and flexible mindset; 2. he is not afraid to experiment and does not need to feel like an “expert” in the edtech tools we leverage in creating the projects. What is key to our collaborative success is that we start with the project goals instead of trying to fit a tool into a pre-designed lesson plan.
The most recent project that Dr. B’s class completed was an “interactive flowchart.” In class, Dr. B had been working to help students gain a better visual understanding of connections between topics (such as the relationships between symptoms and the pathophysiology of diseases) using flowcharts. The goal of this project wasn’t simply to have students use a digital flowchart tool to do something they could have done equally as well on paper. Instead, we wanted to: 1. have students present their knowledge in an interactive format — this project was all about connecting and synthesizing the knowledge they had learned in previous units; 2. teach students valuable Google Slide skills (applicable in high school and beyond); 3. relay the “big picture” in an efficient and concise style.
To accomplish this task, Dr. B reformatted his overarching project prompt.
- Content: Rather than giving students a disease name and asking them to gather information, students were given symptoms and asked to give a differential diagnosis among probable diseases. They were tasked with offering treatment to one of them, which is a more realistic medical approach.
- Organization and presentation: Rather than a basic slide show, students were asked to create an interactive flow chart in Google Slides. To do this, they created a flow chart using the shape and connector tools in Google Slides. After they laid out the entire flowchart, they used subsequent slides to elaborate on each element in the flowchart. To make things interactive, the “introductory flowchart slide” hyperlinked to all of the other slides in the presentation so that for each element clicked on, the viewer is taken to specifics about that element. And because we wanted the whole presentation to be controlled from the “introductory flowchart slide,” students placed a “home” button icon on each of the subsequent slides in the presentation that hyperlinked back to that intro slide.
We then gave students a tutorial to learn how to create this “interactive flowchart” in Google Slides — Tutorial: Create an Interactive Flowchart in Google Slides Using Hyperlinks
Some things are easier experienced than read about. I think this project is a prime example of that! Let’s get into some student projects! Click on the various elements in the flowchart to fully experience the presentation: