Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reflective Teaching Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 prompt: what is one new piece of technology I'd like to try this year and what I hope to see from it

My idea for the week is not super cutting-edge, so sorry. I teach online and use Blackboard, its inline grading features and VoiceThread, but this prompt asks for something new.

VoiceThread and BBoard's in-line grading

What I'd like to do is play around with Google Docs a bit more. It has the ability to do so much, but for the purposes of a composition course I see two main advantages: free, portable technology (PowerPoint, MSWord) for those who don't have it at home, and the ability to collaboratively build assignments.

The first advantage is pretty self-explanatory. If you don't have MS Word or PPT at home, you can access basic versions of the programs online. Docs allows you to save the file in proper format to a flash drive and open it on another computer that actually has the program, but why would you need to do that? Your files are stored on the Google cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. Lest I sound like a Google ad, let me say that it's not perfect and the features are limited and often placed differently than they would be in the full program.

To fully implement this I would need to walk through the process of creating a docs account (by myself first! I forgot the process), or at least locate helpful handouts and videos online. Perhaps in a lab setting or with a Screencast video I record, I could show students how to create an account if they don't already have one. Do this at the beginning of the semester, and I know that from then on, everyone has access to these programs essential to their experience in my class and beyond.

The ability to collaboratively build assignments is something I'd need to hash out. I could see doing a lab activity for a developmental writing course where students work individually on parts of an essay or paragraph and then putting them in small groups to share the paragraph/essay and edit it online. Obviously, an end-of-the-semester group project could be worked on online this way, too. I'd love ideas on using docs in the classroom!

1 comment:

Henry Aronson said...

Hooray for Drive! Let's share the ways we use the collaborative functions. I want to stand on your shoulders.