I love the idea that one teacher allowed in her classroom that not only helped the students who were falling behind, but created an environment that looked more like working at a job, and less like a traditional classroom.
I saw this idea posted on social media and it immediately made sense:
“I learned today that a group of students used a Google doc to take lecture notes. They all took notes simultaneously in a collective file. As they took notes, they would mark places where they were confused or couldn’t follow the lecture—and other students could see it, explain it in real time.”
Wow. I love this idea.
While I recognize it opens up a potential can of worms for students to slack off in class and let others do their work for them, so far this Google doc idea has produced greater engagement and collaboration. No one feels like they “going it alone.” Here are the benefits as I see them:
1. Students who don’t seem to understand the subject are far more apt to ask a fellow classmate than an “expert” teacher, and look stupid in front of them. So, students are more likely to engage in learning, knowing someone will explain the concept to them in a way they can understand it. Plus, the struggling students don’t have to “raise their hand,” just type a few words.
2. Students who do understand a concept become even more engaged when they are invited to become an informal teacher and explain it. We all know people never learn more than when they are asked to communicate an idea to someone else. This is when metacognition comes into play. In fact, it’s so engaging that more students want to jump in and explain concepts.
3. Students tend to feel motivated and even inspired when learning becomes a collective effort. Everyone is now a part of a team working together instead of a one-man show. In such classes, learning and fun and discussion accelerate. Engagement goes up and everyone (including the teacher) wins. This kind of platform works like the tide. When the tide goes up, all the boats go up.
What Happens with Google Docs
Our team at Growing Leaders uses Google docs. You may as well. It’s a simple way for everyone to weigh in and win from a comprehensive effort. It cuts down on time spent on each project as we’re all inputting data in real time. Our work is complete faster and better. So, the classroom that uses a platform like Google docs actually emulates a workspace. This will likely be happening in the jobs your students get after graduation.
We all know that typical lesson plans and traditional pedagogies are built around teachers downloading (even lecturing at times) the curriculum, realizing that while it’s not the best way to engage students, it is the fastest way to get through the material. Now we have a way to engage the way people do outside of school. Our world is now made up of collective knowledge, where smart technology found on the Internet afford us access to what everyone knows. This kind of 21st century method, Google docs, not only deepens involvement on everyone’s part, it prepares students for work after they finish school.
That sounds like a win to me.
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Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes
Habitudes helps students and young team members:
- Break out of the herd mentality to influence others in positive ways.
- Take initiative and set the pace for other teammates.
- Overcome complex problems through creative persistence.
- Capitalize on personal strengths to be career-ready upon graduation.