Thursday, February 28, 2013

Google Docs Communicates

Google Drive can be a great tool for students to work on items at both home and school (or anywhere they have access).  But it can be quite a tool for leveraging assessment.Whether or not you believe in standardized assessment, the fact of the matter is you assess your students.  Formally.  Informally.  Teachers assess like they breathe.  One of the great things about assessment is that it provides an opportunity for feedback, and a dialogue begins. 

One day, while chatting with Judy Arzt I was trying to figure out how to give my students feedback on completed tasks in a way that was private.  However, I also wanted them to be able to comment on the feedback in case they had questions or made revisions.  She shared with me how she uses Google Docs (now Google Drive) to do just that.  I am so appreciative of her sharing this!  It has made assessing and giving individualized feedback so much easier!  Particularly because I only get to see my students once a week.
  • Create a document template that has all of the required tasks, rubrics, and due dates.  
  • Uploaded a copy of this to Google Drive.  
  • Google Drive lets you copy documents so that you don't have to do multiple uploads.  Make enough copies of the upload to equal the number of your students.  
  • Use the students' names to title the documents.
  • Share the document with each student via email.  You can choose how you would like them to interact them.  I chose to only have them be able to comment so that they could let me know if they revised or if they had a question.  I chose comment only because this is a culmination of their assessments which will result in their grades.  Not that anyone would change how I assessed them, but so many are new to technology that I didn't want something to accidentally happen to this running record.
 It is pretty easy to highlight items in Google Drive.  Also, when my students leave me a comment I receive an email.  This is a nice feature because then I don't have to go hunting through every student document to see if someone revised, asked a question, or clarified.  They also receive an email when I have resolved or replied to their comment.  Many have stated how much they appreciate this type of communication.

Which got me thinking...how could this be used in the classroom?  Particularly with younger students?  What a great way to communicate with parents about what is going in the classroom.  They can see what the nature of a task is, the expectations, and their child's progress towards meeting those expectations.  Have you used Google Docs in a similar way?