Google... what a genius little invention this is! Such a simple idea (in theory) but brilliant! My colleagues and I have just started using Google Docs, mainly within our writing lessons and as a feedback tool. Now that I have had a taste of Google Docs I'm wondering how I ever got along without it. I wish I would've used Google Docs during my uni days as many of our assignments required collaborative work and many of us lived so far apart from each other that we survived on sending attachments through e-mails back and forth.
In this blog post I will share with you some of the ways in which my colleagues and I have been using Google Docs in the classroom/school:
1. ADIOS PHOTOCOPIER
- For those activities that may require a photocopied sheets, we now create the sheet using Google Docs (ensuring that the document can be accessed my anyone who has the link), convert the link into a bit.ly link so the students access the documents and work on them online (collaboratively/individually). Click here to see one simple example of this.
2. REFLECTION & FEEDBACK TOOL
- By creating a 3 columned table on Google Docs using the traffic lights reflection tool (see pages 9-10) the students were able to anonymously reflect on their learning and provide feedback to the teachers regarding the lesson. Click here to see my class' first trial- it's not perfect, but you'll get the idea.
3. COLLABORATE WITH STUDENTS OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
- As one of our students is entering the Junior Mayor competition, I have been assisting her with writing her speech. Since, her family decided to go on an overseas holiday towards the end of the term we have been collaborating on her speech through Google Docs. This tool has also allowed us to work on her speech more efficiently and effectively by allowing us to make immediate changes without making multiple copies by sending the document back and forth through e-mail. Watching the tutorials was really insightful as I didn't realise that there was a 'chat' function to communicate with those you are collaborating with, which I'm sure will come in handy for us.
4. ASSESSMENT & GATHERING DATA
- Last term, we trailed using Google Forms to conduct a pre-test on time (thanks to the awesome help of our 5/6 coordinator). In conjunction with the Flubaroo Grader, it corrected the students' responses automatically and provided the teachers and students with instant feedback. I am also intending to use Google Forms to gather data of parents to see how they can share their time and talents to support the learning of our students.
One of the challenges we have experienced using Google Docs, is having the whole level opening one document at the same time - this challenge results from issues with our internet (which is getting fixed now) not from Google itself. One way we have tried to work around this issue was to alternate the timing of lessons between classes so that all 5 classes weren't opening the same document at the same time.
In this module (and in previous module), I have particularly enjoyed watching the "...in plain English" videos - his explanations are easy to understand, concise and is presented in an engaging manner. I could see us continuing to use these videos to introduce Web 2.0 tools to our students through our Digital Literacy programs.
So far, using the Google Drive function in Google has helped us to work and learn more effectively and efficiently, and I highly recommend giving it go with your students if you haven't already (especially if you have the technological resources available). If anyone has been using the Google Drive with their students in any other ways, I would love to hear from you!