Goolaboration Series Part 3: Best Practices

Now that you've learned what Goolaboration is and how to implement in your classroom, I want to share a few Goolaboration best practices. A quick note- these are only a few suggestions. There are many ways to Goolaborate. The sky is the limit!

Google Docs

Utilize Google Docs for collaborative note taking- with one student tasked with taking notes per class period. By rotating the responsibility of recording daily class notes, students can focus on listening to the lecture, rather than taking notes every day. Also, students that are absent from class on a particular day will still have access to class notes.

Google Sheets

Use Google Sheets for collaborative math. Set the parameters for the activity in a cell (or multiple cells), and have students complete the task in their respective cell. Important to this activity, and to the goal of Goolaborating, is the comment feature of Sheets (and all Google files). To utilize this collaborative feature, task students not only with creating their own material but also with commenting on the work of their peers. In this fashion, students will be able to see and learn from the work of their peers- an underrated learning technique- and they will be able to consturct knowledge based on the feedback from their peers.

Google Slides

Use Google Slides to assign a collaborative presentation to students, with each student responsible for creating a set number of slides. I've used this Goolaboration method with an entire class of students, as well as with small groups. This can become a fun and energy-filled activity, full of digital communication as well as verbal communication. Yes, verbal communication. In my experience, students tend to communicate verbally with each other as they mete out the particulars of the activity- a true testament to the power of digital collaboration as a venue for communication of all sorts in the classroom. This type of Goolaboration has provided me evidence to use as a basis for my argument that digital tools do not spell the end of face-to-face learning. Tech-haters beware, we now have proof that this stuff works! (See my previous blog post to learn more about Goolaborating with Google Slides.)

In concluding this series, I would like to offer a few tips. 1) Start small. Try implementing an activity in a single class, on a single day. You can always proliferate from there. 2) Make sure the sharing rights for the Google file are set properly (see Part 2 of this series). This will prevent major headaches. 3) Let the activity "breath". The students are learning the process, just like you. Moments of silence are often times evidence that learning is taking place. The same goes for moments of chaos. Just, step back and enjoy the process as it evolves- you might be surprised with the results!

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