As part of our efforts to provide students with options for collaborative learning, we have started using documents in google drive for our students science projects. This has given the students the opportunity to work in collaboration without the need of “getting together” and all the inconveniences that that supposes.
Collaborative work is at the core of the skills that our students will need in order to perform appropriately in an ever changing and globalized world. While most of us started working with wikis through sites like wikispace or google sites, many of us have started to try other options, not because the aforementioned were bad but because sometimes students appreciate something new. In that search for other options it occurred to us that we might be able to use a google doc as a template for a wiki and we decided to try it last semester for the science project and the research paper assigned to the 7th grade physical science class.
We must admit that at first it was a bit challenging for the groups to organize themselves around the idea of working together while not together but by the second assignment they were pros. Looking back on the work they did, we feel they did so much better than when a year before we used wikispace for a similar purpose. The reasons are still to be determined but one thing that seems to pop out is the fact that they didn’t need an account to work with the google doc.
For the future we intend to have the students be the ones creating the document with the teacher, as opposed to what we did this time around when the teacher created the document and then shared it with the class. We know it is going to take a little longer to get them up and running but we feel it will give them a chance to get better acquainted with the tool and perhaps the possibility of transferring the idea into other areas.
What tool do you use for collaborative work?