Middle School Tech Tips

February 2016 - Collaborative Google Docs Activities

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Even if you don't currently have devices for student use, I encourage you to read this flyer and learn what you can. Digital learning is growing on the campuses, in the district, in the state, and across the nation.

7 Activity Ideas for 21st Century Learning with Google Docs

Having devices in the classroom isn't about using the newest and latest cool tool. The goal is to create 21st century learning environments and to use technology to communicate, collaborate, be creative, and apply critical thinking skills. Building these skills in our students is essential to prepare them for the changing world that they will enter as adults.


Google Apps For Education (GAFE) is the perfect suite of tools to build these skills! Below you will find activity ideas that use Google Docs to promote 21st Century Skills.



1. Collaborative Notes & Assignments- Use Google Docs & Classroom to send one notes page to a class or a group and allow them to build notes together. Watch changes happen in real time and expect quality contribution from everyone. This takes structure and direct instruction of the skill - consider using a table or a template for students. Teachers can use this in team meetings, PLCs, or faculty meetings as well. This can be for more than just notes, consider this activity for any assignment you would have students complete - comprehension, dialectical journals, lab reports, claim - evidence - reasoning, etc.


2. Writing to Learn - writing in Google Docs is amazing. Teachers can use the comment feature to provide immediate feedback to students, and student can revise on the spot. Students can provide peer feedback with shared documents and comments. Drafts are no longer the paper to submit to the teacher that takes a lot of time to revise. Student writing gets better, faster. Google Docs can make writing about the process. Not just for ELA! Writing in the content area is critical!


3. Collaborative Presentations - students can use shared Docs, Slides, or Drawings to create a visual presentation to display learning. Provide students with a rubric so they know what is required. Each group member works on the same presentation at the same time. Provide structure to the collaboration so each student has a role and a contribution.


4. Collaborative Spreadsheets - Assign a Google sheet via Classroom to the class and require each student or group to contribute to a row. This could be research findings on a topic, the answer to a teacher question, results of a lab experiment, or a question that group still has.


5. Data Collection - Share a Google Sheet with another teacher in the building or in the district. Science teachers - collect data on experiments over time, on weather, or on moon phases. Analyze the data and compare results.


6. Google Forms - use forms to quickly and efficiently collect data on student mastery of TEKS. Analyze your results in a handy spreadsheet and grade with Flubaroo. Send results to student immediately via Gmail or Drive. This tool makes assessment and feedback fast - which allows the teacher to correct misconceptions immediately!


7. Google Hangouts - use Hangouts to bring a guest speaker to the glass or visit far away locations. Or, connect with other classes for learning: literacy circles, book reviews, or experiment results. Ask questions. Reflect. Share learning. Or - Social Studies can do Mystery Hangouts! Connect with another class around the world and participate in a 20 questions game to find out where they are with your geography skills. Use this Google Plus Group to connect with other teachers.

Annette Clark, M. Ed.

Digital Learning Coach

Authorized Google for Education Trainer