Making Group Work More Efficient

How often is it that you assign a group project and you end up with groups of four students crowded around one computer with Little Bobby doing all the work and the other three occasionally chiming in about what color the text should be?  It is not necessarily that the students don’t want to do the work, but instead how can they if they are all working on ONE document.  The fun really starts when Bobby is then absent the next day and she was the only one who had access to the file under her school account, bummer!

to the rescue!

Google Docs – This online productivity tool by Google can help solve both of these problems.  Students will have the ability to create a Google version of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation file that is hosted online.  Student can then share the created file with their teammates via e-mail addresses (it doesn’t have to be a Google e-mail address).  Students then can access the same file online at the same time.  Even better is that they can all be editing it at the same time as well.

Tips for use:

  1. Spreadsheet – This feature is by far the best designed part of Google Docs.  Editors can see where others are working on the document because the cells being edited are highlighted in different colors, so that group members know not to attempt to edit that area.  It also has a chat feature that allows collaborators to have side conversations about what they are doing on the spreadsheet.
  2. PPT – Students should not try to edit the same slide at once from different computers.  It works best when one student works on slide 1 another works on slide 2 and so on.
  3. Doc – When creating a document it is best if students work in different areas if they will be working simultaneously or that they type it first on a separtate document and then copy and paste it onto the shared document.
  4. Doc – Documents are great for peer reviews.  Students can share with a peer to get feedback on their writing.

Watch how to get started with Google Docs

What the PPT looks like

What the Spreadsheet looks like and sharing a doc

Additional Jing videos with more detail are coming soon to this post.

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