Lesson 3: Collaboration with Google Drive
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Welcome to lesson three in this seven part course on how you can better use Google apps with your students. This lesson today is all about Google docs and how you can use Google to join the students in the learning process and how we can better engage our students through collaboration. Now just in case you haven’t seen a Google doc before in lesson one I mentioned that Google apps for education comes with a range of different apps that you can use and one of those apps is your Google drive account.
Now your drive account is where you create all your documents. And so if we click on the big red create button we can create documents, which is like Microsoft Word, you’ve got presentation, which is like PowerPoint or keynote, you’ve got spreadsheets, which is like Excell and then you’ve got forms and a whole range of other apps that you can add. So if you go and click create and then a document you get a Google doc opened up, which will look like this.
Now I’ve shred this doc with another computer and so one of the greatest things about Google docs is that you have the ability to invite other people to work in the same document that you have. So you don’t need to then go and save it in document and then share it via email or in a phone drive or something and then you’ve got a copy of the document and then somebody else has a copy. There’s just one copy that everybody accesses so everyone has the most up to date information straightaway.
Now because this is a collaborative document, you can see what’s happening in this document in Real Time. So if I go to my other computer and type, you will see that the text shows up straightaway. If I hover over this little green arrow down here, you can see that it tells me who’s working in the document and if there are multiple people working in the doc, they’ll all have different colored cursors and they will all show up in here in a little tool bar window that shows you who’s working in those documents.
So everything happens collaboratively in Real Time. So to share a document, you simply come up to the share button and you can share it in a number of ways. The first way is that you can just add their email address in and you can invite them to work on this doc. You can say that they can edit, they can comment or they can just view and so that’s a great tool to be able to lock that document down to the level that you want people to be able to interact with that document. You can also make the document private or you can make the document more open to people who don’t have Google accounts so that they can still edit the document or view the document and so on.
There are a number of reasons why you would use both types of sharing permissions. So once you’ve shared a document, the other person will have access to your doc through their drive folder, plus I’ll probably get an email about it as well and they can just open the doc from inside their email. So once we have our Google doc and we’re working in our doc, what we want to do is we want to get our students collaborating.
Now there’s a lot of research out there that tells us that the quicker we can join our students in the learning process, the faster we can give them feedback the more engaged they’ll be. So I’m going to just use a document we created at a staff development day to demonstrate how you can get your students collaborating in Real Time. Now whenever your students collaborate, there are three R’s that underpin collaboration, now it doesn’t matter if your students are collaborating on a doc or on a piece of paper or a poster, irregardless of the tool, it’s the foundation of all collaboration.
Now those three R’s that you need to know about is the students need to read, they need to reflect and they need to respond. So your students are working in a group, they need to read or somehow get the information that the other students are working on, they need to reflect on that information and then they need to leave a response to that information so that they’re contributing to the group and that’s a harder collaboration. So using a Google doc is a great way to lay a foundation for the three R’s.
You might notice that I’ve got my students here or in this case the teachers but each teacher has a space in the table and they’re reading each other’s work, they’re reflecting on that work and they’re leaving responses but they’re not typing all over each other’s work, they’re simply leaving comments and they have a comment discussion that happens in response to what they’ve read and what they’ve reflected on. So to leave a comment, what you do is you just simply highlight the text that you want to leave a comment about and click on the comment button just at the top here.
Now when you do that, you’ll see a little comment box will open and you can type your comment in here and then leave a comment. Now once you do that, what will happen is that you’ll have a comment box that will stay there and it will be linked to the text that remains highlighted. Once you’ve left a comment, other people can reply to your comment. So you can have a comment thread that runs down the screen.
If you wanted to see all the comments for the whole document in one place, you’d simply click on the comments button up here and you can see all the comments that have been left throughout the whole document just there. So it’s a great way to be able to read, to reflect and to respond but to do it in a way that is neat, that is tidy and that just makes sense to all those people as they’re just scanning through the document.
Now what you’ll find as you’re reading, reflecting and responding is that the students will become intrinsically engaged in the work because they want to see what people have to say and they like to have those discussions about what’s happening. It always has that social media element to it. Now as a teacher, one of the things you want to do is join the students in that learning process. So if you have access to their doc, you can come in at any time, highlight some text and then be able to leave them a comment that keeps them on track, keeps them motivated and keeps them encouraged. Now those voice comments or those text comments, in the next lesson we’ll show you how to leave a voice comment using Google Add-ons.
The other way that we can really use Google docs to better engage our students is by using a tool called “Revision History.” So if we come up to the top here, click on file and then say “See revision history” a box opens up on the side here that has a whole lot of dates and times attached to it. As you’re working in a Google doc, because everything is automatically saved back to Google, there’s no save button. What will happen is that Google will take a snapshot of that document. Now the frequency that Google takes a snapshot of that document depends on how active you are in that doc and how much changes are being made but generally speaking Google will capture most major changes, you might miss the odd little bit of information here and there.
You’ll also notice if you have a look at this revision history that there are names and colored boxes in that revision history and what that does it that relates back to whoever worked on the document during that little snapshot. So for instance if I came back to this one here on the 31st of January at 11:47 a.m. if I clicked on this you’ll the document refreshes back to this this time and what we could do is we could try and find some text, for instance this one here that’s in green and I would go and find out who is green over here and I would know that Jenny over here left that text here because it’s green and it matches the green.
Now the text that you go through when you find will always change and will be the same color as the color that is assigned to that person’s account name. So that is a great way to be able to do this. I can see that this little text here was added and that was done by Sharon and you can follow that through. Now the way you can use revision history is that you can see who’s worked, when they’ve worked, how consistently they’ve worked, who’s contributed to the document and so on. So it’s a fantastic way to be able to encourage your students that you know that they’re working when they’re working and you can leave them comments appropriately.
So there’s a whole host of ways that you can use Google docs to better engage your students to faster collaboration. In the next lesson, what I’m going to do is show you how you can use Google Add-ons at Chrome Apps and Extension to really extend your docs to make that look better, to make them function better and to encourage students and support them in their content creation. So keep your eye up for that next video, we’ll send that to you in email in a couple of days.