Since Google Docs has taken some (maybe most) of the need for face to face interaction, teachers can collaborate with teachers, students with students, and students with teachers. We have recently been using Google Docs with the National Honor Society at my school. The NHS secretaries and I have been collaborating by making a variety of different absence notes for students. One of these notes it to permit students late to sports practices and other after school activities when there are mandatory NHS meetings after school. Although this seems like such a basic idea, we did not have time to meet face to face, it was her responsibility to type of the majority of the note, and I needed to edit it to remove teenager slang and superfluous words!
Other examples of how students could use the Google Docs word processor are...
- to write a composition/research paper/essay collaboratively (group work, not cheating!)
- to create a book report, both sharing the role of citing the text for support
- to design a flier/pamphlet for a variety of content areas or even for clubs/sports
- to collect ideas and brainstorm for a future project
- to create online rubrics to share with their students
- to collaborate/design worksheets or extra practice with colleagues for the students
- to prepare handouts or guided notes with students
- to design a newsletter to share with parents and students about happenings in the classroom and the school
One of my favorite features of this type of Google Doc is that you can see the entire revision history. For example, if Student A makes a revision to a paper that is incorrect, Student B can go back to the revision history and see the original writing. Edits can easily be made, and it is also easy to see who has written each part of the document (it's color coded...YAY for organization)!
A few of the downsides to this type of sharing are that the Internet must be accessed in order to view and edit the document, a valid email address is necessary (preferably Gmail), and security is always an issue when using the Internet. Many projects would have to be planned in advance, knowing that time is always a factor, and that patience is necessary!