Tag Archives: Google Docs

Building 1:1 Capacity

Image: Building 1:1 Capacity

I recently had the great privilege of presenting to a neighboring high school’s English department on their professional development Tech Day. They are a high school that has recently gone to 1:1 computing, with every student being issued a Macbook. While efforts have definitely been growing, the district wants to encourage even more seamless integration across the domains.

Having been working in some kind of 1:1 environment for a few years now, it was a great opportunity to share some thoughts about ways to take advantage and leverage the affordances of the new dynamic.

Like the Chinese word weiji, the truth of every student possessing a laptop is both precarious, invoking fear and for some danger, as well as presenting a crucial opportunity. The moment 1:1 computing becomes the reality of your classroom a lot of norms and previous practices are called into question. As Michael Wesch has so sharply articulated in his video The Machine is Us/ing Us, “We need to rethink a few things…”

Another truth is that not every educator, student, or person for that matter is ready for the depth or breadth of the changes that are occurring as more and more 1:1 programs roll out. Plus, adaptation and evolution take time and in educational settings that time can take longer than it does in corporate settings where increased sales and profits can outpace mistakes.

Still, given time, guidance, and encouragement educators and students can build capacity toward better and better seamless integration of computer devices into their way of working and being. It naturally happens in personal, informal settings but school has always been a little different and, in some cases, there has been good reason for those differences.

Nevertheless, here are some thoughts I shared in the presentation to the neighboring school and my own.

Image: SAMR Model

I used Ruben Puentedura‘s SAMR Model for my whole approach. I do not think it is a silver bullet answer, but I do think it can provide a useful framework for smoothly increasing integration and capacity over time.

Image: Technology Comfort Level Survey

It is always important to survey the teachers. Survey results can guide best SAMR model application. By encouraging each teacher to pick one to three tasks, units, or projects in a year to alter by integrating laptops using the model can rapidly make significant change.

  • Self-ranked individuals of 1-2 : Substitution and Augmentation are reasonable goals by year’s end.
  • Self-ranked individuals of 2-4 : Augmentation or Modification are reasonable goals by year’s end.
  • Self-ranked individuals of 3-5 : Modification is a reasonable goal by year’s end with effort focused on Redefinition.

If every teacher selected 2-3 end-products each year to integrate and alter, within three years, the majority of student work would be enhanced by the affordances of the laptops. Depending on the comfort of the teachers, a significant portion of student work could be transformed. It may not be a reasonable goal that all student work will have gone through a Redefinition, but the natural byproduct of the process would contribute to a significant amount reaching that level.

Image: Writing Stakes

Beginning with writing in mind first for planning purposes, enhances thoughtful, backward design of students learning. The student writing will determine the end-product, in turn opening the possibilities for the realization of an expanded notion of what constitutes a text. Additionally, students need opportunities of various levels and stakes to produce high quality end-products. Many of the examples above can benefit from the application of the SAMR model, ultimately including potential Redefinition.

Image: Google Drive Documents

Using Google Drive is a pure Substitution for any class, without making any changes. It can quickly be elevated to Modification by employing the sharing or commenting features. One simple strategy that leverages the Modification aspect is using a Google Document as the platform for collective, structured pre-writing activities, where guidance can be provided while work is captured, as well as shared across sections, potentially.

Additionally, demonstrations and templates, among other strategies can easily be employed to reach the Modification level. Yet, using the tool in the context of peer feedback groups.

Image: Google Drive Forms

Using Google Drive to create and administer Forms is one of the easiest ways to elevate to the Augmentation level, while gathering a variety of feedback or data from students that can be used in any number of ways. Forms can be a simple Substitution for strategies like entry or exit slips, opening prompts, surveys, and more. However, since the answers and data is collected in a spreadsheet that renders it searchable, manipulatable, thus potentially more useful and clearly reaching Augmentation.

Using Google Drive as a tool for peer feedback is another simple way to achieve the Augmentation level. Sharing a Google Document within a group and soliciting feedback becomes easier and enables some functional improvements. Using the Comment feature and a simple protocol, comments can be preserved for later revision. Additional, collaborative writing possibilities exist too.

Image: Flipboard

Using social bookmarking tools offer another simple Substitution method for sharing resources. A tool like Flipboard works in a similar fashion but allows for curated resources to appear in a digital magazine-like format. Individuals or teams can use Flipboard to curate Internet items from periodicals, blogs, websites, anything with a URL in an elegant, easy-to-read format for sharing.

Building 1-1 Capacity at HHS (7)

KQED’s Do Now is a Modification example of using an existing resource from San Francisco’s PBS station, which posts weekly articles and questions designed to engage teens at the intersection of current events and social media. Using hashtags and Twitter, comments, responses, answers can be shared and gathered. Since the site is built on a blog platform, a comments feature is also available for anyone to contribute, with or without Twitter.

Image: Youth Voices

Youth Voices is an existing student community with participating classes from across the country. While most of the active teachers and classes in the community are in the humanities, there is no requirements or limitations. The community of participating teachers continue to create curricular material that achieves Redefinition level. It is a lively and evolving community of student work.

This is a quick sample of the presentation and some accompanying thoughts about how to implement the model, as well as build capacity of a wider group of educators and students.  Everyone is at a different place on a continuum of ability, learning, and understanding. Yet, using SAMR can anchor the efforts to advance and enhance the way class works, over time reaching higher and higher, with the potential to ultimately transform the entire way school works.

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Preparing for #SEACCR Data Collection – Week 5 Reflections

Photo: research

research – cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Dayna Bateman

Despite feeling a bit off the pace of my Alaskan colleagues in #SEACCR, I am persevering and pressing on with my action research  project. One thing that I have found is that my teaching schedule and planning has not exactly matched up with the timeline established for the course. Some of this is a function of jumping into the mix without a complete sense of the timeline at the start, and some of it is merely a consequence of how I have plotted out the ninth grade sections that I am observing for the project.  Unfortunately, it is not looking like these two time streams are going to align any time soon.

One thing that has absolutely crystalized for me, especially since I engaged in a much lengthier action research project last year, is my fascination with reading the research on a subject. This is one of the most fascinating aspects of any research project. I love the searching, digging, reading, discovering. I tend to collect reams of related articles and books. In fact, for my project last year I had material shipped in from Australia, fascinating stuff at that.

As a result of all of this, I always find myself feeling I have so much more to read and learn. One week’s time never felt like it would be enough. I couldn’t read enough, fast enough. Plus, I spent a good chunk writing up a literature review, which I may post in future when I have finished the project.

Nevertheless, I am still in more of a planning stage for my data collection now, rather than actually collecting it. Since my interest is in peer response groups and Google Docs, I actually have to provide some opportunities for the students to participate. It is not something we do daily, but something we will be doing with greater frequency in future. Unfortunately, with this week being a shortened one, it may take even longer to begin data collection than I had imagined. Still, the class is moving from a more reading-focus to a more writing focus now. So there will be more opportunities, perhaps just not synchronized with the class timeline.

All of this is leaving me feeling a little disconnected from the group. However, I received some great feedback this week from @ak_teacher, Lenore Swanson, who is doing some great work herself. I am also continuing to stay involved in at least one of the two weekly Twitter chats. As my work drags on I am hoping to be a bit more engaged in helping and providing feedback to others.

So, despite Professor Lee Graham‘s awesome support, I can’t stop that nagging feeling of being behind a group of pretty awesome fellow educators.

Image: Lee Graham Single Tweet

It all remains great fun. Plus, there is a definite feeling of community within the group.

Annotating an Initial #SEACCR Bibliography

Photo: Bibliography

Bibliography – cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by Alexandre Duret-Lutz

Running behind a bit, again. Still, once I got a chance to sit down and start compiling things, the process moved much faster. I also came to realize that the more precise term for what interests me is peer response groups, not reader response groups. Still, my inquiry is essentially the same: How does the use of use of Google Docs impact peer response groups and change or shape the writing process? Of course it still subject to revision, but that is where I am at present.

While I tried to examine a number of documents, so far I have found that there is not as much material specifically related to my line of inquiry. This potentially opens a small window for a substantive investigation that examines the impact of Google Docs on peer response groups. I may need to widen my reading to include more background on the theory that underlies peer response groups to both deepen my understanding and attenuate me to ways in which Google Docs as a tool might alter the experience. I definitely found some good articles to get started with a lot of leads to more potential readings.

Lastly, just for the sake of easier reading, I formatted the actual citations with a subtle background shading just to aid readability and keep the sections visually separated.

Kittle, P., & Hicks, T. (2009). Transforming the group paper with collaborative online writing. Pedagogy9(3), 525-538.

While only tangentially connected to my inquiry, this article behind framing out more theory and practice behind the related concept of collaborative writing. It is primarily focused on providing a number of practical activities for teaching and learning collaborative writing, using technology tools, as well as addressing how groups work together in multiple contexts. It is a great introduction to the concept of collaborative writing, which is related to my inquiry about peer response groups and highlights where a lot of the most current inquiries seem to headed.

Lacina, J., & Block, C. C. (2012). Progressive writing instruction: Empowering school leaders and teachers. Voices from the Middle, 19(3), 10-17.

This article investigated seventeen populous district’s views on middle school writing instruction for the 21st century. It itemizes a list of research-based writing instruction practices geared for improving adolescents and tried to identify their presence in classrooms across the observed districts. This article contains a rich array of references to other studies and articles, perhaps providing its greatest potential value. Considering that the sections I am observing are ninth graders, this middle school study seemed relevant.

One of the recommendations specifically discusses peer response groups, although they are more geared toward responding to literature and not peer generated writing specifically. However, it promotes the concept of real-time collaborative writing, using technology tools. While similar, it is not quite the same concept of my inquiry. There is definitely a tension point between collaborative writing and peer response groups.

Lin, W. C., & Yang, S. C. (2013). Exploring the roles of Google. doc and peer e-tutors in English writing. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 12(1).

Despite this study being in a English as a Foreign Language context with a tutoring component, this study has a quality review of literature regarding peer feedback. The findings are confirmed Google Docs as a success platform for social interaction between parties. They did however find challenges with the Google Docs service, which may potentially occur with any cloud solution. Also, considering continued upgrades and improvements to the service, it is unlikely that the problems experienced account for more than inconveniences.

Hedin, B. (2012). Peer Feedback in Academic Writing Using Google Docs.

Courtesy of Lee’s tutorial video, this might be the best pure article related to my inquiry. In it, a number of students in an undergraduate program participated as they developed degree project reports, using Google Docs for Peer Feedback Marking (PFM), which is essentially the kind of peer response method I am currently using with students.  In survey questions, respondents ranked written peer feedback and oral feedback similarly, although supervisor written feedback outranked both. Additionally, nearly 70% preferred the comment features in Google Docs over threaded discussion comments as available in an learning management system (LMS). The study also explores a high acceptance for reading electronic texts, which seemed surprised the investigator. This was something that I had not necessarily considered when conceiving my investigation. There are definitely some quality questions and methods to be gleaned from this study.

Pae, J. K. (2010). Collaborative Writing versus Individual Writing: Fluency, Accuracy, Complexity, and Essay Score. Officers & Executive Board, 1(2011), 121.

An interesting tangential article examining collaborative and individual writing. The main value of this piece is in the literature review and the references regarding collaborative and individually produced texts. It is not of primary concern but does provide some quality background on the theoretical opposition that I have kind of discovered is a bit more widespread than I understood prior to my inquiry.

Pargman, D., Hedin, B., & Hrastinski, S. (2013). Using group supervision and social annotation systems to support students’ academic writing. Högre utbildning, 3(2), 129-134.

In a subsequent study, Hedin and company were interested specifically in the social annotation system as a support, as well as how it fit into overall a supervision model. Again, using undergraduates this study required students to comment on each others writing, working in pairs only with the addition of supervisor input. There was very little advice about how or when to comment, something that they will choose to emphasize in future iterations. In fact, they will in future focus on what good performance is and facilitate the development of self-assessment, which is similar to the protocol that I use with students. A finding that is mentioned in both Hedin studies is an increase in student on-time completion rates, something that I had not thought to measure at all.