A Short Case Study and Success Story: Google Docs, Large Class, Writing, Critiquing, and Improving

The assignment was to write a 4 page treatment on a shared Google Document linked from the class list wiki page answering the following questions:

  • What defines your culture or subculture?
  • What is cool or interesting about your culture or subculture?
  • What is important in your culture or subculture?
  • How does the media influence your culture or subculture?
  • How do your out-of-school experiences influence your culture or subculture?
  • How do your in-school experiences influence your culture or subculture?
  • What do you see future generations at your age needing to know about your culture or subculture?
  • What would you like to change in your culture or subculture?
  • What is the most important issue in your culture or subculture?
  • What are your ideas or concerns about this issue?

After 2 days students read each others treatments and answered the following questions on each Google document:

  • What is your personal interest in this topic? In other words, how does it affect you personally?
  • What are some specific questions that you have about this topic that you would like to explore? (List at least 3)
  • Who would be interested in watching a documentary about this topic? Why would they be interested?
  • Who could be interviewed about their personal story related to this topic? (think people most involved, professionals, celebrities, local media, organizations, parents and family members, ect…)
  • Where could you capture strong images to go with this topic?

Over the course of one week we had students write about the culture they are immersed in, read each others writing, and leave meaningful and helpful feedback from all the different perspectives; each writer can now improve their writing for a larger audience.

The tech behind this is the Google Doc.

To do something similar in your classes:

1. Create a public link to a page where all students can edit the page.  A wiki is the best option for this, but a Google Document with a list of names will work as well.

2. Have each student create a shared Google Document with the settings public and anyone can edit. They will need a Google account to do this.

3.  Have the students hyperlink from their name in the list to their shared Google Document.

4. Ask students to write, then read each others writing, then leave feedback.  They could even help correct each others mistakes.  The author of the Google Document can track back through the revision history if need be.

The set up time for a project like this is minimal and the reward of student collaboration through reading, writing and critiquing has been clearly positive in my experience.

Please leave comments about your experiences.

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