Friday, 24 April 2009

Collaborating with Google Documents

Okay. So now I’m exploring Google Docs a bit more (I know I promised more about blogging but that will have to wait till next week).

I’ve found this presentation below. Basically part of a series created by Tom Barrett. Kick started by Tom the presentations also include contributions made by others, (you cant just dive in and edit a Google Doc – you have to be invited, so basically in this case interested parties email Tom with their suggestions which are then duly added to the presentation).

Anyway a brief look at some of my favourite suggestions (and tips) for use:

1 - Use Spreadsheets for a first collaboration session. If using Google docs for the first time get things started by first using the spreadsheet.

2 - Share pulse raw data. Following on from point 1 again use a single shared spreadsheet for the whole class and add the students’ names in the first few column. Then design an experiment which requires the students to add raw data (in this example it was pulse rates) simultaneously. The pooled data can then be explored, averaged, charted etc.

3 - I am Unique! Good for students at the start of a module. Ask the students to individually work on a single shared Document and finish a sentence, in my case “The most important concerns about using Blended Learning are…”.

4 - Collaborative Homework. Touched on in previous posts, ask students to work on a shared presentation / spreadsheet / document.

5 - Use the chat window. I suspect similar to the comments facility on Flickr and the wiki page discussion tabs this feature will be sadly overlooked. Clicking on the ‘view’ opens up a chat window allowing those who are viewing the presentation to exchange comments. The interesting aspect is that, as Tom points out, you can encourage the students to respond to verbal questions in the chat window DURING presentation. OR even better have questions prepared on the slides for them to respond to.

6 - Inline Video and Images in Chat. A great idea building from the previous. You can display videos in the chat window and play them during the presentation, e.g. YouTube. This is interesting as you could direct the students to research, find material (or anything they have pre created) and display and play the results right there.

Health warning - Worth knowing that Google Docs only have limits. 10 people can edit a Presentation at the same time, 50 people can edit a Spreadsheet simultaneously and 10 people can edit a Document at the same time.

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