Since introducing Google Apps for Education (GAfE) at my school in September 2013 I have been struck by the way that individuals will begin using the tools in their own way to improve their pedagogy. It shows how great teachers pick and choose the tools that are right for them and their classes.

As with all good edtech, the tool just refines the great pedagogy.

One great example of this is a language teacher who I work with who has developed her marking and feedback using Google documents. She has made critical choices about how to use the tools and has worked hard at training her class to submit their work via Google Drive and respond to her feedback. This demonstrates some key features of how to develop pedagogy with technology.

  • Embedding technology takes the same time and effort as any pedagogical tool
  • Your class need to be trained in how to produce the work your expect
  • Be persistent
  • Don’t expect it to go smoothly (just like any lesson or change in your classroom)

In preparation for their language qualifications the students have to develop a text covering some key topics. This teacher identified the sharing and collaboration of Google docs as a perfect tool to help with drafting, re-drafting and providing feedback. The benefits have been:

  1. saved time
  2. improved the impact of teacher feedback
  3. changes can be reviewed and tracked
  4. better student outcomes!

Not my interpretation but the feedback of the teacher. It has not been a smooth ride, managing your Google Drive and that of the students is a necessity, something that can be dealt with by using Google Classroom. This teacher understands how Google Classroom works but having spent time developing her class to use a system of sharing their work with her and then she would organise it in her folders, she did not want to change. We have discussed trialling Google Classroom for the same task in the summer term when there is a little more time to develop new strategies.

I have taken a piece of work completed by one of her students and used draftback.com to show the evolution of the document to try and demonstrate the power of feedback via a Google document over the traditional piece of paper that can be lost by the student or ignored as they write their second draft without the teacher’s invaluable feedback. I hope the video gives a good idea of the development of the piece of work thanks to great pedagogy from a great teacher.

As with all good edtech, the tool just refines the great pedagogy.

Enjoy

Ben Rouse

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