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How Google Docs Might Help

How Google Docs Might Help?


During the last school holidays I worked with colleagues looking at the use of Google Docs for literacy and at teacher dashboard an interface layer that works with Google Docs. We asked those present to add their ideas about what they already knew about Google Docs, Teacher dashboard and their use (White Hat – “What information is available” thinking). Let’s start by reflecting on what they said.


TEACHERS: What we already know about Google Docs?

“Lots of people can work at the same time. Documents can be shared with others easily. Students can file away you work in subject areas. That is collaborative and can be accessed anywhere. Useful in collaboration. Edit, change, comment, assess, note label et cetera on work as it happens. That allows teachers to print student work. Helpful to teacher marking-Can edit the same (or a copy of the doc) and send it back to the students are instant feedback and feed forward.” 


Or in a wordle



STUDENTS:  Key thoughts  about working with Google Docs in Teacher Dashboard


Lets us become able to complete our work to a higher neatness and a lot quicker.

Teacher can see it at the same time or I you are working in a group then you can work on bits at a time so one person does not have to do all of the work.

lots of people can work on it as well so it can make the completing of the document much faster and it could have more information on it.

I think that teacher dashboard is easier for us so that we don’t have to keep on sharing our work with Mr Clark, we just have to save it with a title.

It is also really great as Mr Clark / the teacher gets to look at every one's work at once instead one by one.


Or in Tagxedo



The students reference the idea of collaboration and the power of this more than the teachers as well as the ease with which everything takes place. The students also seem to have a clearer description of the capabilities within Google documents.

Finally interms of what we think/believe I’d like to outline what I believe will work best for learners using Google Docs and why.


I believe documents with multiple readers and collaborators add most to learning…

These documents allow students to: see how others write and to build on ideas. This motivates them to present themselves well in a highly visible environment. Because others are working with them it is more likely that the work will have meaning beyond compliance (sometimes a significant feature of individual work). We could almost add documents with a purpose on the end of the multiple users and collaborators. I believe we will see more educators working in this way as they come to understand the significance of this new paradigm of access. There are a couple of little tricks and organisational ideas that might help when working with many people to one document. It wont happen overnight but it will happen. I'll put these ideas together into a next post. 

As I write this this is a little bit of a broken record element to what I am saying

Time to move on…

My understanding is that people will adopt things, change practice and persist when they have a clear reason for doing so:


The next steps are to work and share in a similar environment to the students ourselves for our own learning and modeling…


  • Leigh Hynes

    I have found using google docs has really helped my students get to grips with a topic.  They have all just passed a level 3 assessment by collaborating on a "perfect" document to study from. And it all started with a few words  "..........is an issue, what is the issue, what are some possible soutions."

    They did all the work themselves, all I had to do was encourage and prompt.  And the chat facility was what drew them in and engaged them straight away. 

  • Dave Winter

    The collaborative Study Note use is a fabulous way that the power of a group shows through. There are some good examples of this coming out of Wiki educator too. The multiple realtime of google docs editing is incredibly effective if we structure it right. A next post from me will look at some ideas I have to manage this environment.

  • Suzie Vesper

    In the trial online ESOL school where I teach, we make heavy use of Google Docs and use Teacher Dashboard and this has proven to be a fantastic way of working. I have even started running my lessons out of Google Presentations. Students click on a slide when instructed while we go over material and they then have separate slides to do their own writing on within the presentation that I can easily track all at the same time. We have also done a similar thing with separate docs too. Using the 'Add comment' feature in the docs means less 'red pen' and more ownership by the student to make editing changes.

  • Tracey Gibson

    How did you go about getting teacher dashboard?