Year 7 have started using Google Docs to evaluate presentations made to the class. Each student gives their presentation and is then reviewed by their peers using a shared Google document. The use of Google Docs means that the whole class can contribute to a single document thereby giving valuable feedback.
You might expect (and I did), this type of activity to be dogged by technical issues, but it was actually fairly smooth with all students being able to log on wirelessly to the network from areas where there is usually little multiple access (the gym and the auditorium).
Student log-in to Google Docs was efficient in the most part and they were able to access the individual review file of each presenter without problems. As Google sets a limit of 10 users working simultaneously on each file there was a little wasted time for those that weren't quick enough to get in first! We need to work on this a bit and adapted so that students could comment on one of two presentations at the same time.
On the whole the quality of student comment was good, but because of the short amount of time they were permitted to write, there was not enough depth to their comments. We need to allow for more reflection and stress the difference between peer review in the classroom and the adding of comments to a Youtube video. Each has merit, but to support a classmate in IMPROVING and REFINING their work, the two are different.
- That was really great!
- it was the best presentation so far!
- I loved it!!!
Which fall into the supportive category and may make the student feel good, but they don't identify what it is that is actually good. As far a peer review goes, the above are limited. More helpful comments included;
- it was quite short and wasn't formal enough
- great pictures and good formal language
- very clear and well presented
- You used good expression and talked about the pictures referring to the text
- You actually looked at us, not many people can do that
- you need to face us more than the screen
- i liked the pics, the font was good
- Next time just try to not hide the words behind the photographs
There are more presentations to be seen with one more lesson before half-term and another straight after. Students need to look again at the comments they have made and also address the issue of precisely where they comment. The default position is the top of the screen, which soon becomes cluttered. The use of Insert, Comment allows for colour coding of postings so that everybody can see who has written what. The revision history is another way in which the updates of the document can be followed.
Although we've only scratched the surface of Google Docs so far, it's clear to see that it has huge potential within the classroom, allowing for simultaneous student collaboration.
KS3 students have also started to use Google Docs in English