The Digital One Page: Your Key To Remote Student Engagement

If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that teaching itself can often require some physical interaction.

Getting your students to engage with material, especially in a class like English or AP, can be way harder without the physical stimuli that make up a brick and mortar classroom.

While there are plenty of digital worksheets and resources out there, perhaps the digital one page is the key to remote student engagement.

Put another way, learning how to create, and get your students to submit, a digital one page can mean they are way more engaged in their learning, and is something they enjoy. 

There can be a bit of a technological learning curve on our part as teachers, to create a digital system that means uploading students’ work to a cloud so we can access it, as well as ensuring they can have proper access to the one sheet itself.

This is more of an issue for us than our now digitally savvy students.

In any case, we are here today to show you the ultimate guide to creating effective digital one pages, so your students can engage with their learning while also enjoying it.

To learn how to create effective and engaging one page tasks, just keep reading!

What Is A Digital One Page?

So, a digital one page is a way to remotely respond to an excerpt of text or even an image or video.

It’s a task we can set for students that can help them be creative, engage with their learning, and can be more effective at memory retention in the long run.

Put simply, you could consider a digital one page to effectively be a digital poster, students provide responses to a prompt in the equivalent of one powerpoint slide.

Most kids are digital themselves these days and often way better at computer stuff than most teachers are.

Giving them something like a digital one page can improve computer literacy but is more importantly an effective tool for learning.

You create a prompt for students to respond to, this could be an excerpt from a poem, a clip from a film, a quote from someone in history, a set of data, even an engineering problem.

You present some stimuli and prompt your students with a question or task.

The student can then use the same software to create a response to your prompt that can use both visual and written content.

Students can create a poster-collage-hybrid that is digital and allows them to also embrace online research.

They have to find the right images, have an actual answer or response to the prompt, as well as having to write a little too.

You can even set specific guidance or tasks for the digital one such as ‘must include minimum 5 sentences in paragraph form’, or ‘must include three pictures’.

You can even squeeze something fun in there too like ‘use the word ‘pathetic fallacy in your response’ or ‘see if you can find a picture of the poet’, etc.

Why Do Digital One Pages Work?

One reason I love using these one pages is that it can cater to students of all kinds of discernment and temperament.

If students are more visual learners they may make more visual one pages, but setting them guidance that makes them write as well can allow them to become better at things they aren’t the best at, while also being able to show their prowess in other skills. 

No one student ever creates the same one page or response, the task you set them with the one page is pretty open ended and they could really take that blank canvas as far as their imagination can take them.

On the other hand the less creative students may simply enjoy the opportunity to fine tune and put lots of work and complex detail into the one page as well.

While other one pages may be less vibrant but might have some really great written content.

Notably, students engage way more with one pages – for two reasons. Firstly, students love creating these resources that allow them to be creative and display what matters to them.

Like I outlined, there are never two that are the same and students take real pride in their work when they feel it is a reflection of themselves

Secondly, you could create the same task but physically, by asking students to create a physical poster at home.

Yet, they likely wouldn’t engage with this so much because they won’t necessarily hand it in.

With these digital one pages they know you are going to look into them and pay attention, so they will naturally want to engage more.

Providing them with personal feedback can also be really useful for many students in ways that you can’t mark a physical poster.

If you are looking for something specific from the students it can be good to set a casual marking criteria, this can help kids know what will get them higher marks and gives them something to aim for.

Finally, it’s just way easier to get a kid to engage with these creative tasks when they are remotely learning at home, than making them write a response down or type one up.

These creative and interactive tasks are way better for engagement and feel less like actual work.

How To Create A Digital One Page Task?

There are two types of software we should consider when designing a one page task. Firstly, we need the software in which we can set our task and our students can create their one page within.

Secondly, we need a submission software where the kids can upload their work so that we as teachers can read and provide feedback on their work.

The best choices here are the softwares your students are used to, have already used, or can easily access. Choose the path of least resistance here.

As you can imagine there are quite a few softwares in which you can create the one page, but its best to use something familiar.

For instance if your school has access to Microsoft Office, you could just get the kids to make their open page on a single powerpoint slide, and then just email you the one page powerpoint presentation.

There are other platforms that are easily accessible and have education licenses for schools that are more specifically suited for digital one page creation.

The Digital One Page: Your Key To Remote Student Engagement

For example, if you wanted to create an example one page so your students know what to do, platforms like Google Slides,

Microsoft Powerpoint, Canva, or Notability, may all be good platforms to use. Padlet and Glogster are other options too.

In remote situations, like in the past, where students can’t print them off and bring them to you, students either need to send you their file somehow, or upload it to a cloud software.

Again, the path of least resistance is the best here. We want to use technology to aid learning, not inhibit it.

Google Slides can solve both these issues as if you have access to the student’s slide you can give them feedback directly on their slide, which is easy for them to find.

Stuff like TurnItIn, Monday, Moodle, Kami, and more can provide digital ways for students to upload their work easily.

Importantly, when dealing with any digital task like this we always need to have a back up plan for those kids who might not have access to the right stuff.

To complete such digital tasks you students will need access to a tablet, computer, or laptop.

With just a phone the students won’t be able to complete the task, and some students may not even have phones or access to any kind of computer. 

Make sure for these cases that you can organize some computer time for them in school, or where that isn’t possible allow these students to do the task physically instead.

Ideas For Prompts

As we mentioned, your students require some prompt or stimuli in order to know what to make their digital one page about.

Your prompt could be based on whatever subject you are teaching, and the good thing about one pages is that they fit basically any subject or topic.

You could even provide a selection of prompts concerning slightly different areas of the same topic. Or provide the same excerpt or quote and some choices of what to focus on when responding.

The easiest example is in English Literature or AP, throw up an excerpt from a poem, play, or prose, that you think is thought provoking, but also be sure to focus on one area of it.

In example, you might include an excerpt from Wuthering Heights, and you might ask the students to reflect on how the weather or physical setting of the excerpt can change how we read the excerpt.

Alternately, in a subject like Art you could present a piece of artwork and suggest students do some research into the artist and think about how this may change how they see the piece of art and their reading of it. 

In Science you might show a statistic about how solar energy might become more used in the future and ask your students to create a one page about how it could be used in the future and how it may affect their daily lives.

As you can see you are basically creating a discussion question, the kind of question you might ask in class and expect verbal answers to, or the type of question that can prompt more long-form answers.

Ideally, a prompt that allows students to use both pictures and words can be the most conducive for these kinds of tasks.

If you feel like your prompt could be misinterpreted, or you want something a little more specific, you can create an example one page yourself.

Try not to fill it with too much information that will influence the kids too much, but the general layout, some example images, and sentence starters or examples of the kind of writing you want.

Similarly, while prompts themselves are great, you might want to provide rules or guidelines for the submission.

For instance you may state that you want a minimum amount of sentences or words, as well as a minimum amount of images, so that kids don’t focus on one side more than the other.

This helps guide the kids into the kind of work you want to see. 

If you worry that an example is just going to be copied, one way to change it is to give kids a literal template for them to create their one page within.

This might just be how you divide the page up, where the prompt exists in the one page, or provide boxes for images or text as you see fit. This can also restrict creativity, though.

It can be fun to throw some fun tasks in there, such as restricting them from using a word, or restricting them from using a type of sentence opener like ‘This’ or ‘I’ statements.

Or you could provide research challenges such as ‘extra marks if you can talk about what inspired the poem’, etc.

How To Mark A Digital One Sheet?

Well, literally, there should be some way you can provide feedback to your students either directly through the software you used to create the one sheet, or through the submission software.

If neither are applicable simply write some short feedback and send it to your students over email or some other way.

Again, the path of least resistance is best here, give your feedback where you know students can find it easily.

You may not want to mark these one sheets at all, and simply provide written feedback, or a mixture of both. In these types of remote learning exercises providing some criteria for quality can be useful for students to know what to aim for.

Rather than marks you could provide rewards instead, like the best three make it onto the display board, or something similar

Fundamentally, when students understand their work is going to be marked or feedback is going to be provided they generally tend to engage more in fear of being marked down, or simply wanting to impress or compete with others.

More so, when rewards such as a place on a board or known first prize is involved this can provide a different kind of motivation for different kinds of students.

One approach to marking these one pages, considering they are such a subjective endeavor, is to provide some marking criteria.

From 1 to 5 you can provide what you may expect in different levels, from what the best one sheet might look like, to what the least amount of effort might produce.

This allows the students to know what criteria they need to hit in order to get good marks or feedback.

Some criteria for top marks might include things like perfect grammar and spelling, showing good research skills by finding information others didn’t, good presentation skills as well as writing, relevant images, and more. 

You may provide an actual mark out of five, or something along those lines, or simply provide feedback.

When providing written feedback, which is important even when providing an actual mark too.

Comment on what you like about the one page, how accurately it answered the prompt, how relevant the information was, endeavor to fact check what they say, comet on grammar and spelling, let them know what they did that was unique.

One fun way is simply to provide your own feedback, perhaps in reference to a marking criteria, but also you could get other students to provide comments on other students’ work.

There might be some digital hiccups here, but if you could work out a way that each student who submits also has to provide feedback on others work, can help the class engage with each other, as well as the topic, while also understanding how they might have done the exercise better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Good Deadline To Set For A Digital One Page Task?

Some teachers worry about the length of time that this kind of task can take, or how long should be allowed.

Generally it can take almost no time at all to complete a task like this, but you also want to allow enough time for your students to be creative and do their best work.

I would suggest this task is ideal for a weekend, the kind of thing you could set on a Friday and ask for it to be submitted by the end of Monday.

Obviously, you might want to take into account the amount of other work your students may already have. Around 3 days can seem like a pretty reasonable response.

Final Thoughts

As you can see the digital one sheet task is a really great task for remote learners, and in any situation is a great way for students to engage with a topic or idea.

These tasks are great for the modern generation that are digitally savvy, but also provides some good opportunities for students to work on their writing, interpretation, as well as presentation skills.

Students of any level can complete and enjoy the task, just make sure that all the digital stuff, like software, is in order so the task can be completed easily.