Google Docs, Drive, etc.

Yesterday, I led an early release workshop incorporating the use of Google Docs to allow students (in this case, my colleagues) to paperlessly conduct a collaborative close read. Over the past couple of years, many colleagues have asked me for info on Google Docs and Google Drive. Below are actual assignments that I give to my students at the start of a new semester (minus a little identifying information), but you may find them helpful for your own use as well.
Google Docs (learn GDocs features and share docs with you)
Google Docs and Google Drive (learn GDocs features and creating shared student folders)
More pontification and philosophy following…

How I learned all this stuff…
I think it’s worth mentioning that the only reason I know as much as I do about Google Drive and such is because I’ve used these tools myself for many years and I’m willing to try them (and fail) with my students. I’ve learned more from problems that students have encountered and when these things have utterly failed during a lesson than I ever would have learned by just using them myself. I also plan to continue my Google education through their online training modules and certification process because I hope to one day attend a Google Teacher Academy. (Ya hear that, Google?) In reality, there’s still so much that I don’t know! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband has also taught me a lot and I love the fact that we share a vision and passion for edtech in the classroom.
Don’t let that deter you from trying new tech tools!
Give your students some credit: they are surprisingly forgiving. As with all teaching practices, I think it comes down to the relationship you have with your students. In fact, I think it’s incredibly important to show them how to deal with failures and work through them to turn them into successes. I’ve always been a firm believer in leading by example. If you want your students to be more tech savvy, you should be able to demonstrate that desire of yourself to them too. Speaking of which…
Tech Savvy or Tech Dependent?
I believe that students today are technologically savvy dependent. They are surprisingly limited in their working knowledge of technological applications and web-based tools. They can run circles around most of us in the realm of social media, but ask them to create a virtual presentation and they balk. It’s important for us to teach them digital citizenship, acceptable use, and the importance of being technologically literate.

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