If you're looking for a way to engage students in collaborative projects, Google Docs is a great platform to start with. The documents can be shared and made available to edit by up to 50 students at once. Keep reading to find out how you could turn this into a fun class activity!
This project could be completed from anywhere on any device that can access Google Docs, meaning whether they're at school or at home, any student with an internet connection can participate.
By signing into their Google accounts and working online, students are accountable for their own learning. They're each able to see what other students are contributing and to see their processes for work output.
For example, perhaps one student is the type of learner who jots down a lot of ideas and plans their work out to some extent. Another student who is active on this doc may constantly struggle to make a start on their work. They'll now be able to see the process of another student and could adapt it in a way that works for them.
You'll be able to go back through the edit history of the doc and see any changes students made to the doc and when they edited it. This is a useful tool when you're wanting to check whether all members of a group are contributing to a project equally. If you notice inequities within the group, you can intervene early to avoid issues at the end of the activity.
Collaboration is an important life skill that students should start practising on a regular basis. Being able to create high quality work on your own is one thing, but working with others who have different ways of thinking is important for adapting and building relationships. Working together also gives students who are unsure about their work or lack confidence support and reassurance that they're on the right track. They can get instant feedback from teachers or other students, minimising any anxieties they may have about their work.
A great way you can get students familiar with using Google Docs is to have them create a story where each of them adds one sentence. Start it off by writing the first sentence then go through the class one by one and have each student add their own. They'll all be able to see each other writing directly onto the shared doc, so all students will have the latest version of the story.
By the end of the activity, you'll have a piece of creative writing that is a collaboration of each student's ideas and personality. You could do this activity at different points during the year, perhaps each term, so you can assess any changes or improvements to their writing skills. By using the version history feature, you'll be able to easily identify which student wrote a particular sentence and assess them individually.
Students will love making their own, one of a kind story to represent their class. It's a really unpredictable activity which will go in a hundred different directions, but that's the fun of it! The story is what they make of it, so get your students involved and start creating with Google Docs!
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