1c. Teachers promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students' conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.
2c. Teachers customize and personalize learning activities to address students' diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.
3d. Teachers model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.
This year I implemented the use of Google Documents to:
· increase my efficiency with grading
· shift more completely to a paperless system of assignment dissemination and collection
· facilitate a real-time digital work environment that promotes an emphasis upon the writing process
Google Documents increased the efficiency of my grading by allowing me to stage and review student writing assignments according to a process in a real-time environment upon a living document. For example; my research assignment started with a thesis log that I could check as students made modifications according to the research they gathered. The assignment then moved into an annotated bibliography assignment that slowly developed into a note taking assignment. The notes collected were then converted into an outline format. I monitored and commented upon each level, making sure errors or potential problems were addressed before the final paper was produced.
Google Documents allowed me to move more completely to a paperless system for assignment dissemination and collection. I have begun to produce calendars specific to my class that students can comment upon in Google Documents, save and modify as their own, or simply refer to. I have also shared multi-paged documents with them so that I do not have to waste time producing them on the copier and then handing them out. There were two occasions this year where I was absent and shared a letter of instruction and an assignment with my students through Google Documents. For all major writing assignments, student submissions are electronic through either Google Documents or turnitin.com.
The problem with many writing assignments is that the process undergone by students is frequently hidden from the instructor. Because Google Documents is a real-time environment for living documents, I can view and assist with each stage of the assignment as it develops. Working with students more completely through the process helped me to tailor instruction, and eliminate common errors that would undermine the effectiveness and success of an essay. On multiple occasions, students received email notification that I was reviewing their work; they would quickly log on and asked me some questions via the Google Documents chat function. Though a somewhat slowing phenomenon while trying to grade papers at 10 pm, it was beneficial to the student.
Additionally, after viewing a TED talk on “Filter Bubbles” I decided to incorporate a collaborative element into my research. I created a topic document in Google Documents were each student could post their thesis statement. Students were then encouraged to contact colleagues with a similar subject so they could share resources and provide general support.
Being able to work with students on the writing process in a real-time environment upon a living document allowed students to reflect upon input from me and fellow classmate and make impactful corrections. It also allowed students the opportunity to cultivate their own style rather than work within the confines of expected criteria.