Sunday, February 27, 2011

Google Docs Means Second Chances for Everyone: by Laura

If I could give every teacher one tech tool, it would be to be able to teach "in a Google cloud."  Our school got  "cloud coverage," this year.  It has meant that sharing work student to student and student to teacher is possible with a few clicks.  Here is an example of how Google docs has changed the most straight forward of assignments in my classroom:  reading and responding to a set of questions about a lab or a reading.

The old way:  Students had questions passed out or e-mailed to them.  They wrote answers.  They printed their work and passed it in.  I wrote comments and passed it back.  I addressed any misconceptions revealed by the assignment with the whole class.  And in most cases, that was the end of things.  If a student really didn't seem to understand the work, I might ask them to redo it. 

The new way: Once students write their answers on a Google doc, my interactions become more individualized.  I am not correcting their answers so much as editing and responding with more specific follow-up questions.  I ask almost all my students to take a second try at these questions now.

They get a second chance to show their understanding (and almost all are successful the second time.)  And I get a second chance to target my instruction in an individualized way.


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