Some teachers I have worked with in the past have been hesitant to introduce their students to the collaborative component of Google because they are worried students will delete each others’ work, get off task or are afraid one student will do all of the work. Therefore, here are 5 ideas that will help your students avoid these types of disasters when students are working on the same assignment:
When students are quietly working in small groups or with another person in a far away land on the same Google Document, I like for them each to pick a different font color to color code their ideas. I always have a small table available in the corner of the assignment so students can type their name next to the color that will distinguish their work. When students type what they would like to add to the assignment everyone will see who contributed which ideas. This is a great way to hold everyone accountable to contributing to their group work.
Sharing One Folder
When working with younger students who have a hard time with typing, THIS tip will save your sanity. We all know that it could easily take 1st graders 20-30 minutes just to login to a computer. Usernames and passwords these days have more characters than a Disney movie. Help us all if a child’s username has the @ symbol, – hyphen or some other character that requires the hold of the SHIFT key. This all comes in time with LOTS of practice Therefore, having younger students type another student’s Google username into the SHARE box could easily take the entire class period. (Source: buzzfeed.com).
The revision history feature should be every teacher’s best friend and I am so surprised how many teachers still don’t know about this hidden gem! Revision history can tell you who edited and at what times as well as allow you to revert to a previous version of the file.
If students have a hard time clicking on the same doc and/or slideshow and typing at the same time, I like to add tables to help them stay focused and avoid that sea sickness that is caused by the cursor bouncing around when multiple people are typing. In fact, the first time I show students the collaborative feature in a Google Doc, I add a table with numbers. Students find their class number, click in the box and type their name. Their attention is focused on THEIR box and they have a specific location that will allow only their cursor to click.
Comments & Chat
Teach your students how to effectively use the comments and chat features to communicate with their team members if they are not working near each other. I always tell students that the comments and chat are strictly for:
- asking questions
- offering suggestions