Today’s class modelled collaborative learning. Our task was to create an information document for TEACHERS on digital citizenship. This was done using Google docs and we managed to produce something worthwhile within 60 minutes.
Such a fast turn-around would be unlikely in a school classroom but it is worth trying if you give a deadline for the end of the class session.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you do this:
*all students need to be made accountable for a part of the document to avoid students slacking off.
*there needs to be time given for planning, writing scripts and thought in order for this to be a pedagogical exercise.
*ensure instructions are clear and on the board throughout the lesson for the visual learners
Can I use this in the Geography classroom?
Think of producing a google doc such as this instead of the classic reading circles. When you set a chapter reading for homework or a unit for homework, the next day the students could produce an outline in a collaborative document.
What about in the language classroom?
It could be creating a word list of new words learned, a list of idiomatic expressions, a running story, with each student writing one line.
My personal experience ( as has been in all these IT classes due to the steep learning curve ) was stressful, but a real sense of achievement was felt at the end.
Another thing to note is that the room is very quiet during collaborative work on Google docs so if you are in a shared classroom or the class next door is having a test, this would be an ideal time to keep the class busy and quiet.
For another blogger’s opinion and positive experience with Google docs in the classroom I encourage you to read this article: Coutts, N (2016) Collaborative Learning with Google Docs The Learner’s Way Blogsite.
And for some best practices for collaborative learnings, Miriam Clifford has an excellent article: Facilitating collaborative learning.
For a research-based article on Google docs and collaborative learning, Science Direct has a recent article which is well worth the read and helps explain the advantages and pitfalls of certain technology in the classroom: The impact of Google Docs on student collaboration: A UAE case study.
I mentioned in the title the need for some engaging teaching with a difficult year 10 Geography class. I will use some of the IT tools we have been shown and will report back.
Stay tuned for feedback!