Google Doc it up!
Type of technology: Website
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade level: All
Subject area: All
Google Docs is one of the most versatile programs and students have endless options to create and explore its features.
I had my AVID students do an end of the year project where they created brochures about what they will experience in their first year of High School next year using Google Docs. Students researched certain facts they had to put it together into a three column table in Google Docs. They needed to add images and use different fonts for each section of their research. When finished, they were to print their brochure from the library and then decorate the front.
This project definitely had some challenges. With how often teachers use Google Docs with students, it was surprising to see that my students did not understand how to insert a table into their document, nor did they know how to change the page setup to landscape format. I quickly realized my two day project would take much longer. With technology being so scarce at the end of the year, I ran out of time and about half of my students finished their project completely. I made the mistake of assuming my students knew how to do certain tasks in Google Docs and paid the price for it. Some good things that came out of the lesson were students learned Google Doc tricks they were not previously exposed to such as inserting a table, changing page setup, as well as using “tools” to look up and quickly drag images into their document.
Here are some Add-Ons I love that pair well with Google docs:
Google Docs has many things to offer when it comes to making things easier for students and teachers. Simply go to the Add-ons tab at the top of the screen and scroll down to “gets add-ons.” A list of the most popular add-ons comes up and you can begin exploring each one to find out the ones that will work best for you and your students. Here are two that I love:
EasyBib Bibliography Creator Add-On:
Often times in English we have students cite their sources, a pretty daunting task for 7th graders, and they often do not cite correctly. That’s where this add on comes in handy. Easybib.com is the source and students simply click Easy bib from their add-on section and it will pop up in the right of their screen. They no longer have to open another window and worry about copying and pasting the information onto their Google Doc. They simply type the title or other keywords and a list will pop up. Students chose the correct author/title and click “add bibliography to Doc.” It is that easy. The citation will show up at the bottom of the page. This is beneficial for science research papers as well as History’s DBQ’s.
Here is what it looks like for a Works Cited:
November, Alan C. Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2012. Print.
Highlight Tool Add-On:
This tool is great for students to break down information in English, whether it be to highlight dialogue or breakdown sentences with parts or speech or even in Science where students can highlight their claim in one color and evidence in another.
When students click on “highlight tool” from their “add-on” section, a box will appear to the right of their Doc. Students then choose highlighter colors and label what each color means. The tool allows students to interact with their writing and the teacher will be able to see which color means what, once the doc is shared.
Google doc add ons are fun to try out and experiment with. In 7th grade, we are simply having students practice over and over with logging into their Google Drive and creating new documents, presentations, etc. It is a slow process, but an important one. We try to add on at least one other task once students start to become familiar with logging in and typing in their Google Drive. I usually incorporate my first “add on” after second quarter and students are excited to see which one I will introduce next.