This seems simple, but I urge you to try it.
Before I deal with this post’s title, I need to briefly mention sharing and permissions.
Google Apps for Education has fantastic sharing options. You can share folders and files, and set specific permissions, from within the Drive interface:
Or, you can edit the permissions from within a document:
The interface is genuinely foolproof. Having the ability to edit permissions and share individual files and folders gives you a myriad of options:
- A folder shared with a specific class, containing files only accessible by certain students
- Files and folders accessible by your department, faculty, or the wider school
- A private folder for personal files, within a department’s folder.
Here is one simple use case:
One Massive, Collaborative, Google Document for Revision
There comes an inevitable point during the KS4 Music journey when one must revise set works/styles, using the musical elements. I created a Google Doc, with a simple table for each set work on the Edexcel GCSE syllabus. There was a space for students to fill in key points for each musical element. A dull, but necessary activity.
However, rather than print a copy for each student, I set the permissions to ‘anyone from class 10c can edit this document’, and provided the link for the students.
Cue utter madness. 20 different coloured cursors flew around the screen. Students were writing messages, changing the colour and font of every word, and deleting each other’s writing. It was, to be honest, quite funny, and I was guilty of a few ‘rogue edits’ myself.
After this initial madness, students got down to work. Different students worked on different sections, before reviewing and refining what others had written. I projected a copy of the document, which looked cool as students edited it in real-time.
I commented on students’ misconceptions, asking for clarification or more detail. At the end of the lesson each student had a copy of the resource. Less able students had the correct info, and more able students were able to act as ‘moderators’, ensuring the info was accurate.
That is how I used collaboration on Google Docs to make a boring revision activity more engaging. It is one small example. The potential is huge, and something I am currently exploring. Watch this space.