Dec 172009
 

 

Google Docs and Presentations are amazing tools available to teachers in the SEDC region, and anywhere that Google Apps have been adopted. Not only do they foster group planning for teachers, but they are effective tools to enable group work and student collaboration in an engaging way, while simultaneously taking advantage of the benefits of these documents living ‘online’.

We’ve worked with a few schools through a grant on creating an easy way to create, view, edit and share these collaborative documents. With a few clicks, students can access the document, edit and add their own information and personal twist, include their research and web resources – and in the process they attack the larger problem or goal as a group. Then – the students, any other classes, their parents and even the entire world can easily view the work that they have done. Publishing to the world is a motivating force to do quality work! These videos will show, step-by-step, how to do this same thing for any class!

For this process, we are using Google Apps for Education, and Joomla – a free and open-source Content Management System (CMS) that our region has adopted for hosting school and district Web sites. This example has been outlined with the work we have done with Mr. Winegar at Bryce Valley High School, Garfield County School District in Utah.

There are three main steps that need to be done:
  1. Create the ‘template’ document in Google Docs.
  2. Depending on how the students will be working on the document…
    • … if the entire class will be working on one document – Publish the template document, set the editing rights for everyone, and get the shared link in Google Docs, or…
    • … if small groups will have access to their own sections – Share the document with editing rights to the email addresses of the students in each group or reuse the group email addresses that we have set up for you and share the document to those.
    • Write a new ‘Article’ on your school web site and your teacher area with a link to access the presentation and an embedded version for viewing the presentation on your site (I’ve created an account on your web site so that you can write articles – this is something that eventually we’d like all of the teachers at your school to have access to and training for).
    • *BONUS* – Recombine the smaller group presentations into the full class presentation and embed it in a web page.

    I’ll go through each of these in detail so that you can replicate what we have done. Here we go!

    Step 1 – Create the template document in Google Docs:

    Step 2a – Publishing the document so that anyone with the link can edit – entire class access:

    Step 3a  – Writing an Article on your school Web site to access and view these links to edit:

    Step 2b – Sharing the individual group templates with specific students or a group account:

    Step 3b – Adding links to view small group presentations to an article on your school web site:

    Step 4 – Bring it all together and post it on your web site:

    I realize that there are a few steps, and it may seem like a daunting task, but if you take it all step-by-step (and use the Pause button on the videos when you need to!), you’ll be able to do this. This has certainly been a trial-and-error process for us to figure out this workflow, but it’s exciting to be able to share this with the teachers in our region and beyond.

    Please post comments if you have questions or feedback – I’d love to hear from you!