Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Power of Google Docs

I had a great conversation with Aaron Farnsworth, Solon High School language arts teacher, about the role that technology plays in his teaching life.  Mr. Farnsworth and I discussed the ebbs and flows of working with technology in an educational environment.  One area of technology that has altered his teaching “1000%” is the use of Google Docs.  Mr. Farnsworth has some great recommendations about how he has embedded Google Docs in his classroom to enhance the learning environment.

  • Collaboration Teacher and Student.  Since Google Docs can be shared with multiple people, Mr. Farnsworth has students share documents with him.  This allows him the ability to jump into their work at any time and add comments on the side to give students feedback during the writing process.  The student can use this like a checklist for revising their work and as a way to have a digital conversation with their teacher.

  • Collaboration between Students.  Mr. Farnsworth hosts students' discussions in Google Docs.  From the examples that he shared with me, it was a great place for students to share their ideas and work on strengthening their writing skills.  He uses the revision history to observe different students’ contributions to the discussion document.

  • Fighting Plagiarism.  It seems to be a hard hurdle for students to overcome that they simply cannot copy and paste what they find on the web directly into their work.  Mr. Farnsworth has found that it’s best to not deny this instinct, but facilitate it.  When students are working on papers and they find research they would like to use, he encourages them to copy and paste it into their working document, but then highlight the original source and paraphrase underneath. Check out these examples:

A very simple but powerful way to confront the plagiarism issue in a way to help students to understand how they can grow their writing.

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me

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