WCYDWT: Collaboration and Google Drive #TET200

This is a model post for my TET 200 course at The University of South Dakota.

This week we’ve been exploring Google Drive and how it can be used to support collaboration. As I think about how I’d use Google Drive in my future classroom, I’d want to ensure students were engaged in higher order thinking as they used the technology. There are a number of different ways that Google Drive can be used, but too often they replicate current activities completed on paper. Something that comes to mind are electronic worksheets, which really make me cringe. Worksheets are bad enough on paper, we don’t need to be completing them on the computer.

Rather, I’d look to the ways Google Drive could be used to engage students in analysis, evaluation, and creation based activities. These represent the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and is the level of thinking students should be at throughout a large chunk of their day. Yet, Google Drive alone will not get students to higher order thinking. Instead, it’s the mechanism or the medium that will enable them to demonstrate their higher order thinking skills. This means that it’s the work they’re doing that matters most. If we ask our students to engage in low level thinking activities, then that’s what we’re going to see. So the key, at least how I see it, is to have a truly driving question that students are trying to answer that requires them to compare, contrast, explain, judge, discriminate, recommend, hypothesize, plan, design, and collaborate.

An example of what I’d love to see happen in my son’s 1st grade classroom is for him and his peers to use Google Drive to document their learning as they complete an experiment. One of my favorite things to see are young learners taking on real roles, so the role of a scientist, and then documenting their findings as they progress through an experiment. What’s nice about having the youngest of our students completing experiments and collecting data, is that they engage in an authentic experience as they make a prediction, test their prediction by collecting data, and then weigh the evidence they collect before making a decision based on data. This sounds like something only older children are able to do, but we’d be surprised at what our smallest learners can do. While they may talk about concepts in a different way and may not have as large of vocabulary to communicate their ideas, they can still engage in the same cognitive processes that scientists do everyday. I see Google Drive as being one of those tools that will enable and assist students in organizing and sharing their ideas.

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