Last week, I used Google Docs in the classroom for the first time. We used a template given to us at a recent PD to create a character profile and I had the students in their reading groups purely so the collaborative groups were smaller and easier to manage.
Here are a couple of things I learnt from this experience;
1. Collaboration needs to be explicitly taught! No matter how much I emphasised the ‘you cannot change, delete or contradict somebody else’s contribution’ rule, I had full-on arguments coming from some kids who just couldn’t agree! Negotiate was definitely not a word they knew.
2. A lot of technology knowledge in students is assumed. In general, people tend to believe that because the students I teach have grown up with computers, that they know everything about technology. From chatting to my students, it appears that the only things they use their school netbooks or home computers and other devices for is social media. Oh, and Maths games when they’re really bored on the weekend.
3. Nothing is explicit enough in my room. Unrelated to technology and the use of Google Docs but I’ve really noticed how helpless my students are when they need to think for themselves. Actually, this needs a whole post to itself.
Other than providing more opportunities to practise these skills (collaboration itself and new technologies), I am unsure as to how to teach these skills to my students. Am I throwing them into the deep end? Am I introducing too much at once?