Thursday, September 22, 2011

Google Docs Enthusiasm

I introduced Google Docs to my class today as a way for them to collaborate on a group document that won't get lost.  Or forgotten.  Or when Student X drops the class, and they lose the work (common in group projects).  I know Google Docs been pretty big everywhere else, but it seems to have slipped by our student body.

I reserved the computer area for the class, and set them all on machines in groups.  Previously I had gone in and set up a Google Doc for each group, so that I would own the document and could have a little control over it.  I sent an invite to their emails and told them to save the link.  We noticed that those who used the student email, or AOL, couldn't access them.  One young man went around helping people sign up for Gmail--he should get a commission from them as I think about 8 or 9 students signed up.

At first, the students were tentative.  I had my list of Google Docs up on the display screen, and selected a strong group to show their document.  At first there were a lot of giggles as they watched a little colorful flag, attached to the writing, work its way across the screen as they typed.  I had them change their notifications.  I showed them how I knew they were there, working.  I then placed a comment on each document and showed them how to respond.  The volume in the classroom zoomed, as they started typing, watching the changes appear on their own computers, and figured out that this was truly a collaborative effort.  Some were stalled (the groups without a strong personality) and I went around and tried to help them find their way.

After class ended, one student came up to me and said he was in three other groups for his classes, and he was going to show them this technology.  He had me show him how to set it up, and how to invite others.  He was totally jazzed.  So was I.

I showed my friend my group plan and the Google Docs idea; she called me Meriwether.  But since it's all still new and I don't know if it will work, I may have just jumped off of a cliff.

Here's Google's video of what happens on a Google Doc:


Judy said...

This looks amazing. It is rather labor-intensive for the prof. That said, I'm already thinking about how this might work for the group project at the end of the semester in one of my classes. I'm a sucker for labor-intensiveness.

Artax said...

I think it's a good idea. I'd use google docs with my collaborators, except last I checked google still wasn't doing anything useful with equation editing. This seems like a good idea for a group writing assignment, though.

Donna Smith said...

I had taken a quick overview workshop on this and concluded that even the youngest of students could use this effectively for editing, spelling, etc. practice in small groups or individually.