There may have been a time when the dog ate your homework. However in the 21st century, schools have become more savvy, making it much harder for Fido to sabotage your school work. Of course, using digital technologies also makes it easier for students to submit school assignments, for teachers to grade and give feedback and create an online portfolio of student work. One of the ways schools are helping to students and teachers alike create, share and store data is with Google Docs.
Here’s a quick look at how some schools are using Google Docs to facilitate learning, while helping everyone stay connected on and off campus.
The Baylor School in Tennessee is no stranger to digital innovation. They’ve long been at the forefront of web-based technologies so it’s not surprising that they’ve been using Google Docs to help streamline business processes and in the classroom.
In Mr. Fleissner’s sixth-grade humanities class, as described in the school’s alumni magazine, students have been using Google Docs to work on projects simultaneously.
“…he envisions a time in the near future when his students will no longer receive handouts, use notebook binders, or have the “dog-ate-my-homework” excuse for a lost paper. Using web-based information, he also envisions collaboration between students in different classes, in different schools, and even in different countries.”
The School also uses Google Docs to streamline the registration process. For example, to register for summer sessions at Grammar Camp, students were instructed to sign up via a form created by Google Docs. Camp directors and other administrators received notifications when someone registered and could easily update and share the information with other departments as needed.
At the beginning of the school year, Blair Academy achieved a major milestone in its efforts to incorporate technology into the classroom: every Blair teacher has a tablet computer. As such, they make learning more dynamic by promoting more interactions with students.
According to Blair’s History department chair Mr. Beck, using a tablet to replace the chalkboard has allowed him to take notes from his seat, “rather than getting up and disrupting the student-centered nature of class discussions.” He also says that Google Docs has changed how he does business in the classroom. By providing up-to-the-minute advice and commentary on essays as they are written, Mr. Beck acknowledges that he can better manage the writing process in his classes.
Cushing Academy’s laptop program requires students to bring a wireless networkable laptop computer to school with the goal of enhancing students’ education and learning opportunities, and to ensure success in today’s information-rich world. Additionally, Cushing provide free access to Google Apps via a single sign-on from the portal pages on MyCushing as an alternative software choice.
Additionally, students maintain a class blog and notes on Google Docs so that they can control the work and discussion after hours.
The Hun School of Princeton
Sixth graders at The Hun School of Princeton have used Google Docs to collaborate and create a digital newspaper from 1912. After reading Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, student teams were tasked with researching, writing, and publishing media-rich documents based on the events and locations in the book. They used iPads, Google Docs, and Voicethread technologies during the two-and-a-half week project. Peer editing was a large component of the work done by group members. Revisions, suggestions, and fine tuning of articles took place in the classroom and online, through Google Docs.
Northfield Mount Hermon
Summer reading expectations at NMH are divided into two categories: an English department assignment and a selection for a book discussion group held at the beginning of the academic year. Students are placed in grade-level discussion groups based on books they select and are asked to provide the English department with their top seven selections for the books allotted to their specific grade via a form created with Google Docs.
South Kent School
At South Kent School everyone uses an iPad, making the paperless campus a reality. While there are times students are asked to use paper, most classes require that assignments are turned in as a PDF. Whether students are creating documents in Word, Pages or on Google Docs, creating a PDF is easy and accessible. Furthermore, the school encourages the use of free iPad apps that allows classroom groups to exchange ideas in the pages of digital texts, many of which support google docs integration.
The Harvey School
We were delighted to hear from The Harvey School, a co-ed college preparatory school serving grades 6 – 12 near Westchester County in New York. We learned that Google Docs are used daily by students, staff and faculty in a variety of ways, including:
- Document Creations & Sharing: Students write documents and share with teachers when completed. Teachers modify, advise or grade. Students can see changes in real time.
- Homework: Teachers share worksheets, assignment sheets, power-points, etc. with students
- Collaboration: Students work collaboratively on reports, spreadsheets, presentations
- Administration: Administrators and department members share documents/information with staff
- NYSAIS 5-Year Evaluation was just completed using Google Docs
- Media Storage and Sharing: Large files(i.e., pictures) are shared/transferred/stored via Google Drive
- Scheduling: Meeting agendas, to-do lists shared by committees and other groups
Is your school using Google Docs? Tell us how in the comments or drop us a line.