Newsflash: the way we interact with one another is changing nearly as quickly as I can type this sentence.
Oh wait -- that's not news? Then why do I keep hearing stories of how collaboration and interaction in some classrooms look nearly identical to my own high school experience 12 years ago? The reality is, our students now have access to an unbelievably large huge ginormous amount of communication tools and devices. I bet you could name over 10 of these if I gave you 10 seconds...which reminds me of the "name 10 chocolate bars" game while someone is tapping on your forehead...
But I digress.
I understand that some tools automatically stir up disagreements surrounding appropriate use, distractions from learning, etc. Truthfully? I believe that all of these tools can have their place in education, given proper modeling and structure. But that's a whole other post for another day. The one tool that I want to focus on briefly today is the slightly-less-hotly-contested Google Docs.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of nearly all things Google, and their online Google Docs are no exception. Not only are they easily accessible from any computer with internet access (thus diminishing the need to remember your USB stick), but they also work WONDERFULLY for group collaboration. Gone are the days of needing to send draft after draft after draft via emails back and forth, all the while hoping that you are currently working on the most recent one. Going back another generation, and we see the painstaking efforts it would take just to share the handwritten document with one another. I remember being the 'lucky' one who got selected to write out the final draft because of my legible penmanship. (Yay me). And if you think back...waaaaaaaay back (kinda like looking up...waaaaaaay up for the Friendly Giant), and I shudder thinking of all the time wasted traveling on foot or horse just for our ancestors to be able to share some info with their neighbour, nevermind put their heads together for a project.
Folks. This isn't your great-grandparents' era of collaboration. This is the much-overused term "21st century", and some geniuses have created access to conveniences that can make collaboration more instantaneous, efficient and meaningful. Why not take advantage?
The list of arguments for using Google Docs in the classroom could go on for ever, but I thought I'd include a little video demonstration for all you visual learners. I cannot take credit for the following video, rather, it came to me via a very well-respected member of my PLN: @AntLak. Check out his fantastic education blog here.
Watch. Learn. Enjoy.