Tuesday, April 11, 2017

6 Simple Ideas for Online Collaboration

 What if I told you that online collaboration can be simple and could be done in a few minutes of a class period?  Really it can be done!

Time is always a factor in the classroom. Online collaboration is often shown off at it's biggest and boldest.   Examples on the internet tell of students working with classrooms across the globe, conferencing with experts and publishing their work online for all to see.  The projects sound awesome and the learning is authentic, but for teachers venturing into this area, it also sounds big and time consuming.

Another concern I hear when working with teachers is that online collaboration is group work where a group of students work on a presentation for the classroom.  This type of assignment can result in one student doing all the work and parents calling to  complain about the assignment being unfair.

In an effort to make online collaboration attainable for the novice teacher, I have compiled a list of ideas to incorporate this skill in the classroom.

Ideas for students to collaborate with other students:

  • Allow students to peer review work using the comments feature the in Google Docs.   Students can share their document with comment access only.  Have students read and leave comments based on criteria of the assignment.  
  • Host an online discussion in Google Classroom.   Provide a discussion prompt in Google Classroom and after students have answered for themselves, have them comment on 3 other student comments.  Teach good comment format along the way for digital citizenship.  
  • Have students share their learning in a Google Slideshow.  Post a blank presentation in Google Classroom and give students edit rights in the options list.  Students open the google slide and add a new slide to add their thinking or reflection based on the prompt given. - Idea from Alice Keeler's blog

Ideas for students to collaborate with the teacher:

  • The teacher can take a part in the online conversations.   Take a few minutes to comment on a Google Classroom prompt you gave to the classroom, or use the private message feature in Classroom to send notes to the students about assignments.
  • Choose 3 Problems/Questions for feedback.  In this post from Alice Keeler she describes the process for students to choose 3 questions from the assignment they want feedback on and to have them add them to a google presentation using the web cam and turning it in through Google Classroom.
  • Use Google Classroom to comment on Student Work.    In google classroom, provide a template doc to begin with so teachers can comment and view throughout the process instead of when it is turned in. This is one of my favorite tricks that I have been showing teachers for the last year or so.  (See directions below)

Creating a template and adding it in Google Classroom:

1.  In Google Drive create a new document, sheet or presentation you want the students to work on.

2.  Name the document and close it out.  

3. In Google Classroom add an assignment:

4.  Give the assignment a name and attach the Google Drive doc you just created.

5. Navigate to the file:

6. Choose to Make a Copy for each student.

Once students log in and click on the document a copy will be made with their name at the end of the file name.  All student documents can be found in your google drive so you can access these files any time and leave comments and feedback throughout the assignment and not just at the end.

These are just a few ideas to get started with online collaboration in the classroom.  What are your ideas?


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