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The Great GOOGLE Experiment

September 28, 2009

Well, I’ve finally moved all of my classes completely over to Google this semester.  I now have a teacher website that was created using Google Sites.  Within this site, I have set up each of my classes with a Google Group for current events discussions and a Google Calendar to record homework, etc. So far, the students have embraced this change to a “paperless” classroom with great enthusiasm.  For me, however, it is still not enough.  I envision a classroom whereby the students engage in meaningful learning using technology on a daily basis.

As such, I have decided to try to use Google Apps for all of my classroom projects this semester.  The students will, depending on the class, be assigned to groups.  These groups will in turn be responsible for working on various projects using either Google Docs or Google Presentations.  The beauty of this concept is that students will be able to collaborate with one another on projects remotely from their own homes.  Each group member can contribute to the project on their own time and if the group members need to consult with one another, then they can get together using Google Talk.  As a teacher, I can monitor group progress at any time and I can also monitor the contributions (or lack thereof) of each member.

I should note that I have tried to engage the students with similar projects in the past with mixed success. In this case, however, I feel the collaborative potential offered by Google Apps will bear fruit and this form of collaborative learning will become the norm in my classroom.  I am quite interested in the project-based learning approach to education and this experiment will serve as a precursor to eventually revamping my courses to include true project based learning in the future.

Stay tuned for some updates in the near future…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. perosevic permalink*
    September 30, 2009 9:29 am

    Well, my grade 11 class just started their collaborative group project today. I set up the groups and got them started in less than 10 minutes.

    Right now, I am watching a teacher’s dream unfold before my eyes. All of the groups are working diligently and they seem genuinely engaged in their learning. They are also having a lot of fun!

    Another thing to note is the fact that there are at least 2 student laptops in class per group. I even have one student contributing via iTouch.

    This is simply AWESOME!

  2. October 10, 2009 6:53 pm

    Nice work Mike. I’m impressed that you’ve taken such a leap and moved all your stuff across to Google’s cloud like this. I’ll be watching and following with interest.

    I met a fellow in New Zealand last week who has their entire school running in the cloud. It’s a brand new school in NZ and they host almost nothing themselves. They use Google for pretty much everything, including all staff and student email accounts, all staff documentation is done with Google Docs, etc etc. They have really taken the cloud concept and are pushing it as far as possible.

    I hope to interview him on Virtual Staffroom in the near future.

    • perosevic permalink*
      October 10, 2009 6:55 pm

      I am actually pushing for the same thing with our board. I am actually making some progress with our tech people.

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