Monday, July 19, 2010

Google Docs in the Classroom

So, Google has a site just for educators. If you are considering using Google Docs in your classroom, check it out. It offers this handy tidbit: "Through the revisions history, you can see clearly who contributed to what assignment and when; if a student says he or she worked on a given project over the last two weeks, it will be documented (no more "dog ate my homework" excuses)." This is valuable for monitoring student progress and offering feedback to what they have so far.

Due to its collaborative nature, it could be perfect for telecollaborative projects. Students participating can collaborate on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation in real-time. The possibilities are endless. I really like the idea of using it for peer revision in writing. My fifth grade classroom could partner with another fifth grade classroom in my county. For example, we could both be working on the adventure narrative that is part of the writing curriculum. After rough drafts are constructed in Google Docs, they would be exchanged with a (pre-arranged-by-the-teacher) partner in the other participating class. Students would then proofread each other's work, first revising and then editing for grammar, usage, and mechanics. Students can view and adjust (if necessary) their peer's revisions. If this peer editing was implemented repeatedly, students could get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses. I am not suggesting this take the place of teacher conferencing during the writing process. This should be done in addition to that.

However, I have come across the statement in other blogs that you must be 13 years old to use Google Docs. I have just perused the Google Docs terms of use and have not found that stated explicitly. However, the terms of service do state that "You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google." According to cnet news, Google users are supposed to be at least thirteen years old, but they do not verify age. So, do I create a group with my students and use it anyway (with parent permission), or just leave it to the high school teachers to benefit from?

No comments:

Post a Comment