Google Apps like Docs and Slides are so fun to use in online courses. I’ve kind of fallen in love with them this year.
The best way online teachers can collaborate asynchronously is to have a cloud-based, shared platform like Google Apps.
Being able to share documents that you continue to edit is the greatest strength of Google Apps. More on these two critical ideas below.
Here are 5 creative ways to use Google Apps in your courses.
1. Guide Students with a Template
As educators, we know what the important elements are in any assigned project. Many learners need support with this, including the often untaught element of design and layout of a presentation.
I like creating a presentation “template” in Google Slides as a starting point for students. Leave image placeholders (I just leave grey text boxes with instructions) and room for them to be creative. Have them File >> Make a copy into their own Google Drive and then continue creating the project on their own.
This is the place to train students to AVOID the 2 Big Cardinal Sins of presentations … text dumps on each slide … and writing content on top of photos.
Once they have created a guided presentation they are ready to attempt one on their own.
2. Create a Shared, Personalized Feedback Space
The part about Moodle I have often struggled with is in the MOO part of its name. “Modular Object-Oriented” describes the fact it is basically a collection of objects that learners complete. They are separate. Modular. Like an IKEA coffee table that you can move around after you add the couch.
The problem with this is that there is no through-line in the learning. There is no way to have an ongoing conversation about their learning that transcends the individual assignments in the course.
Enter: Google Docs.
I have students create a Google Doc as their first activity in my English course, and then share it with me. This forms the basis of our conversations around their learning. The key word here is conversation. It’s an ongoing and two way dialogue.
The first page of the Doc is a written introduction, all about them. I also ask them to post a photo of themselves, and any pets or hobbies they enjoy. I share one back with them. This is relationship building 101 and it’s critical to starting off with the know, like, trust that are the foundations for bridging the face-to-face gap in online learning.