As a planning platform I couldn’t think of anything more accessible or flexible than our Google Docs platform here at school.
We started off the PYP Exhibition Unit with a whole grade instruction session on how and what we were going to be doing in Google Docs. Each group had one person stay behind with me and set up the group collection and share it appropriately with their group members, mentor, homeroom teacher and myself.
Once created each group member was responsible for sharing each of their documents and resources they gathered in the first few weeks of the exhibition.
Students were reminded to consistently name their documents so they could be easily retrievable. Untitled documents were not appropriate titles!
Teachers and mentors could monitor and facilitate a number of different ways using Google Docs. Firstly, they could email all the students easily by clicking on the collection and choosing “Email Collaborators”.
Secondly, they could add comments to the actual documents themselves. Students were constantly reminded to check back into the documents they created to look for feedback.
There was a lot of accountability with a very visible interpretation of which group members were doing what and in the one instance where it happened we were able to roll back in the revision history and see who deleted a whole bunch of text. Discussions could then be had within the group about how to tackle this sort of incident again and how to improve communications between the group members
One of the teachers, when creating a checklist for students to assess their participation in the unit, used a number of Google Doc (and Gmail) criteria which I was very happy about.
As it was the Grade 5 teacher’s first foray into Google Docs in this manner (actually first foray ever) we learned a lot of things to improve on for next school year; more emphasis on Google Docs etiquette and creating an overall timeline throughout the unit of what Google Docs should be used for and when.
Hi Colin, Thanks for all your useful information especially about using Google Doc for the PYP exhibition process. How do you get around the issue of the students being underage to have their own email address? One parent was concerned about the access to ” social networking” associated with having an email address. I would appreciate your suggestions in this matter as using Google Doc has so many advantages, particularly for the PYP exhibition.
Hi Helen, I presented to the parents our initiative with the Google Apps and our Responsible Use Agreement. All parents have signed the RUA at the start of this school year which explicitly states the use of Gmail for use in school work. That helped!
To be honest, if you only have one parent concerned that’s pretty good! I think you need to talk about how school is the most effective and safe place for children to have an email address as anything they do with that is school related. We, scarily enough, don’t know what’s going on outside of school most of the time!
Hi Colin, I will be able to extend the current Internet Access Agreement which students and parents sign, to include the gmail and apps. How safe are Google Docs? I spent time on the computer looking at information about Google and apps. When I checked a document, “80 ways to use Google Forms” , had arrived into my newly created account. Its status, public on the web. I certainly didn’t send anything to my google docs. Is this a common occurrence to have documents arrive that you didn’t request? Thanks, Helen
Hi Helen, somebody somewhere added your email to it. You could be a member of a ning or forum that has your email in your profile etc. Did you check to see who the owner of the doc was?
I think GDocs are safe, so to speak, as anything you make can stay within your domain or you can make it as public as you want.
Is anything 100% safe? Nope, we can’t guarantee that a child won’t get knocked down in the playground but we can guarantee that we are there to supervise, mentor, and react to situations if and when they arise!