Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spontaneous Collaboration... How cool is that?

Google Docs has officially been added and I did some preliminary testing with it this week.  What a cool addition to the available technology we have at our disposal to use with our students.  The thing that has really blown me away so far about using it with my students is how easy it is to manage.  Beyond that, I can not believe how quickly many of my eighth graders began using it, and using it to its full advantage.  I showed them Google's Love Letter video clip and the next thing I knew, students were signed in, sharing their work, and leaving comments for their peers.  Wow, spontaneous peer reviews!  It really doesn't get much better than this.

The thing that makes Google Docs so useful in the classroom is it's collaboration capabilities.  I shared it with my eighth graders with two thoughts in mind.  First that it would provide them with an excellent avenue to work on their assignments both at school and at home without having to worry about how to move files back and forth.  Second, as a means to collaborate on a slide show.  Part of their current assignment is to create a visual aid and some students are creating slide shows.  I thought Google Docs would aid them in doing this since they can collaborate on the project at the same time, from different computers, at different locations.

I really did not expect them to embrace this technology so quickly and start using it to review each others work without being asked.  Granted not all students did this, but the handful that did was pretty astonishing.  There are so many educators/administrators out there that think many of us use technology just for the sake of using it (this thought could be a blog in itself someday).  That attitude is unfortunate because they miss the fact that by putting the tools in the student's hands that they use in their daily lives, we find that students often exceed our expectations and create the productive learning environment we strive for on a daily basis.

I am also in the process of having my junior and senior environmental science students collaborate and write a paper together.  I created roles for the students and gave them a topic related to what we are learning about currently in class.  This little experiment started off kind of rocky because I did not realize only 10 students can edit a document at a time.  So I have retooled a bit and I am ready to see where they take it after thanksgiving break.    

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on launching your blog. Thank you for publishing your experiences and also for sharing my blog here. As you may have discovered linking to one another is a fantastic compliment. As such I linked to this post in my article Get Going with Google Apps in Your School ( I hope you find it helpful when spreading the word to other teachers.