Sunday, August 24, 2008

Google Docs

I used Google Docs for the first time with my class last week. Nothing new I know but I just hadn't got round to using it with my students. I've used it personally on several occasions collaborating on documents with 2 or 3 other people but have to admit, I was still a bit skeptical in terms of how truly scalable it would be, in particular I wasn't sure it would accommodate a whole class entering data at once. But I'd no need to worry had I! It was wonderful. To see all the different coloured tabs as students simultaneously entered their data really put a smile on my face.
I'd previously searched high and low to find the killer collaborative tool, which could be used for assessment purposes, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for. Well now I've found it I don't think I'll be going back.

It was actually a Google Spreadsheet that I'd set up to grade and comment on our class speeches. I set up an individual sheet for each member of the class/speech with the marking criteria on the top and class names (including mine) down the side. Then as we listened to the speeches we entered our marks/comment for each student next to our names on each students individual sheet. I had to laugh at the students who'd already given themselves full marks even before they'd delivered their speech. And those coloured tabs also caught a few out as they tried to alter my marks (good try kids). Collectively all together the information was very informative and allowed me to pick the top three speeches to go forward to the syndicate final based not only on my opinion but the classes too.

Google Docs really is that killer assessment app I've been looking for.


Getting it in perspective said...

Hey good to see Google docs spreadsheet working with a whole class of editors. Their word app seemed to struggle with 3 plus editors. What I like about Google is you get so much for one sign on and a lot of people have gmail already can take a lot of time maintaining accounts in read write web even with open-id. Hardwork prob for a whole class of learners.

Alan PT said...

Unfortunately Google Docs is blocked in our school, but my advanced maths class is getting a lot of use out of Google Sites ( and It's really simple to collaborate and share a portfolio or class project. Of course policing all these new sites would be a nightmare, but I trust them. Funny how teaching webdesign using Frontpage was considered an appropriate ICT lesson once, seems very redundant now.

Have you tried out Phun Physics?

or Pivot Stickman:

I'm going to give this a try tonight:

I'm writing on a trial eeepc 900 right now, which I am unfortunately having to box-up and return right after I type this.

cravenl said...

Oh that's a shame.You need to have a nice word with your IT guys, get on their good side,and find out what the problem is. Is it your filtering system 'watchdog etc'?- because you can just add it to the white list. A spam problem? -apparently googledocs was getting spoofed by an external agency (spamers) not too long ago but this is sorted out now. Or just fear of opening up the cloud.If it's the later it might take you a bit longer to change their mind but don't give in trying.Just remember they are nice guys really and are just trying to protect the system.

What was it that Bill Gates said 'Be nice to the geeks because they will be your boses'!

The geek will inherit the world.

Thanks for the links. I'll try these out soon, Exams are over now, just a few hundred papers to mark then back to normality.

Did you like the Eee900? Was it Linux or Windows?