Google has created a number of tools that facilitate synchronous and asynchronous online collaboration among groups on a variety of file types such as text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, maps, and simple websites.
The collaborative nature of these tools makes them an obvious choice for enhancing the learning experience through group work, peer editing and peer review. The revisioning features available not only provide the instructor with an overview of which students are actively making modifications to the projects, but also provide details as to what changes were made and when.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets
- Includes text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and simple forms.
- Retains most formatting for uploaded Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.
- Multiple people can edit documents at the same time.
- Revisioning allows for tracking of changes and reverting back to previous versions.
- Documents can be published to “the world” for open access on the web, or shared among a private group. The creator can provide access for others to view the document, or collaborate on the document.
- Monitor student participation on group projects using the revisioning system, which tracks the changes each collaborator makes to a document.
- Have students submit papers digitally through Google Docs for instructor or peer review – digital comments and suggestions can be made, similar to track changes in MS Word.
- Monitor student progress via an interactive process which allows you to give guidance while your student is still working on an assignment.
- Allows for the creation of place markers, routes and regions on a Google map using a simple GUI editor.
- Ability to pull images and video from external websites (such as Flickr and YouTube) into information bubbles for display.
- Maps can be published to “the world” for open access on the web, or shared among a private group. The creator can provide access for others to view the map, or collaborate on the map.
- Plot the route of the travels of an historical figure.
- Map the locations of occurances of natural disasters such as earthquakes with related media (images, statistics, video)
- Plot the migration routes of a migratory species.
- Map the locations of students studying abroad, or who are participating in a distance learning program with information about each location (statistics, customs, etc.)
- Create and share webpages from scratch or using one of the many pre-existing templates available.
- Websites can be published to “the world” for open access on the web, or shared among a private group. The creator can provide access for others to view the website, or collaborate on the website.
- Have students create a website with informational pages relating to a research project.
- Create mashups using pre-built “gadgets” for pulling content into your iGoogle page from external sources, such as RSS feeds, Flickr, and YouTube.
- Create a mashup about a course topic, such as the Civil Rights Movement, using a Google Map, a website, and a blog. Pull in available RSS feeds and other external information relating to the subject. Provide to students as a resource.
- Assign students to research key course concepts and create a mashup as a way of presenting their topic and providing an online reference to the rest of the class.