Sunday, August 10, 2014

Using Google Drive for Student Collaboration in Face-to-Face and Online Courses

I use Google Drive daily for creating, editing, organizing, and sharing documents for both personal and professional uses. Google Drive is a tremendous resource for me as an educator, and I use it often for lesson planning, brainstorming, and other teacher-centered activities. I find the most potential in Google Drive, however, in the ways I use it with students.

In both face-to-face and online classes, I use Google Drive for collaboration among students and with others outside the four walls of the classroom. Google docs and spreadsheets work beautifully with many common interactive learning experiences, such as Think-Pair-Share and peer feedback. In face-to-face courses, Google Drive can serve as a resource for documenting the talk and processes that occur as students collaborate. As an online instructor, I've found that Google Drive allows me to easily incorporate interactive and collaborative learning experiences with students who are separated by distance and time. For instance, I designed the spreadsheet below for an activity that tasked students with exploring new-to-them web tools, sharing their learning with their peers, and providing feedback on their classmates' thoughts. This interaction could take place synchronously (at the same time) or asynchronously (not at the same time) and could happen via any device.

The other examples included below represent uses of Google docs for collaboration that work in face-to-face, online synchronous, and online asynchronous settings.


Peer Feedback

Collaborative Brainstorming

Collaborative Note-taking

Since Docs and Sheets can be shared locally or globally, they also provide a way to bring outside experts and other students into those collaborative learning experiences. As students in my technology course explored trending ed tech topics, they were asked to reach out to other educators via Twitter, Google+, and other networks. The Google spreadsheet below allowed my students to record their own learning and also allowed other educators to add their thoughts, experiences, and resources.

There are countless possibilities for structuring Google docs and spreadsheets for collaboration in face-to-face and online courses. I would love to hear (and steal) your ideas, so please share by leaving a comment. Thanks!