Friday, October 26, 2012

Collaborative Assignments on Google Docs

I admit, I probably hurt this particular assignment by waiting until almost the last possible second to do it.  If I had started earlier, I could have interacted more with everyone else's contributions which is probably the point.  That said, even coming in late, I could definitely see the benefits of using a shared document for collaborative assignments.  I particularly like that you can click on "See revision history" (under the file document) and see not just who wrote when but see exactly what they added or changed highlighted in the text.  That's super useful for something like this when there's more than a couple of people working on something and it might not be immediately obvious what changes were made.  Ideally, there would be more communication between team members - judging by the history, most of us did our piece and then most left things as they were - but the potential is obvious.

I really love the idea of using shared documents in class.  I think it's a really neat tool for students who maybe aren't as outspoken or confident enough to assert themselves in a group.  By opening a document for everyone in the group to use, a student can type his or her ideas right in.  Once an idea has been contributed, if it's good, most other students will go along with it.  I mentioned on the discussion board last module that a friend and I used to occasionally use Google docs to co-write blog posts for our Sabres blogs.  In addition to making changes to the actual text, we communicated with each other with little notes.  Things like "Do you think we need more here?" or "This part seems wonky" or even "HOLY CRAP, THIS IS FUNNY!"  While we did it mostly for the sake of convenience - it was like combining email and editing in one - it's another way to make group assignments easier for less confident or less outgoing students.  I might even encourage students to give each other feedback in the document, commenting on things they like or offering some constructive criticism about things they think aren't working or aren't clear.  While kids do eventually need to learn to talk with each other, it might be easier to ease them into that.  I'll definitely use Google Docs in some way or another in my classroom.

1 comment:

  1. I like your honesty-- and yes, you are probably correct that being active in this tool a bit earlier would probably have been best-- with that said, it sounds like you picked out a lot of the key benefits.

    I hope you find it a useful tool in the future.