Group projects with Google Docs

Group projects are an invaluable learning tool, there’s no denying that fact. When incorporated into a balanced lesson plan, group work helps to nurture many skills that students will need in the real world, such as:

  1. an understanding the dynamics of a team and member roles
  2. professional behaviors like meeting deadlines and taking responsibility
  3. ability to work with others through complex problems

Great, so let’s assign some group projects! But hold on just a minute, there are a few issues that we’ll have to deal if this is going to work. First of all, what if the students in some of the groups have difficulty syncing up their schedules to meet outside of class? Or, worse, yet, what if you’re teaching an online class? What then? Well, those multicolored, search-crazy folks over at Google may just have an answer for you!

Google Docs is one of the many free tools offered on the Google Products page. Google Docs is an online service that provides an environment for creating, storing, and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Student collaborators can work in real-time on a single document, seeing their classmate’s changes as they happen, and even chat while they’re making the changes! No longer will you and the students need to exchange multiple email attachments, and you also won’t have to worry about what version of Word everyone is using (thank goodness). Click on a thumbnail below to watch a few short videos, take the Google Docs tour, and then schedule an appointment with the CTL for a demo and to get started!

           

4 responses to “Group projects with Google Docs

  1. Great post!

    I think other benefits to using online document editors are:
    -the ability to track and compare versions (doesn’t matter if someone deletes your work, you can recover it)
    -ability to access your documents anywhere there is an internet connection
    -not worry about which version I am working on, because everyone is on the same document

    Google products are great, I basically worship them, but there are also other ones out there such as http://www.zoho.com.

  2. I think this is a great idea as an alternative. I have two concerns, First, many students (especially at South Campus) do not have computers and internet access at home. Second, I have to wonder about privacy concerns with class materials outside the privacy and protection of Angel.

    I do think it would be valuable to introduce students to the option and let them make the decision in their own group to it’s utilization. I don’t think it should be a required method for conducting a group project.

    My two cents.

  3. I’ve had a few groups use this in my classes (totally voluntarily and out of my classroom) and they seem to like it. Sometimes, I can see apprehension on the part of, how shall I say, my ‘more experienced’ students. So far, the person who’s suggested Google Docs has been gracious about leading and training. Good stuff!

  4. Pingback: Wake your students! « Instructional Technology at Macomb

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