Yet another use for Google Drive (perhaps my favorite!)
Last week, my daughter, Olivia, broke her foot during recess. It was a very unfortunate thing, as she will now miss the rest of her basketball tournaments and perhaps the high school musical. However, there is a silver lining in this occurrence because it gave me an idea. Because of the injury, I had to miss a day of school to bring Olivia to the doctor to get checked by an orthopedic surgeon. After the appointment and a pizza bagel, we headed home so she could rest and elevate her foot, as it was too sore to try school. Since I was at home with Olivia, I decided to experiment with my BFF: Google Drive. My students that day were working on their powerpoints in their Google drive account. I broke them up into city-states of Greece and we set it up so each group was working on one powerpoint together, but with their own computer (side note and future post: it worked great. Made me wish I had more computers even more than I already do). Anyway, on Monday, when I had my students start the project, the first thing I had them do was share the powerpoint with me, so I was "in" their project and had edit rights to all of their projects. So on Wednesday, when I was home with Olivia, I jumped on my computer while Olivia was resting and opened each groups' powerpoint in the class period that was currently going on. It was great! I could be at two places at once. I was home tending to my daughter, but still at school with my students, monitoring their progress, watching them work. I could actually see them type! I used the "comment" feature to give advice, tips, pointers, things to think about, questions, etc. on their projects as they worked. They could reply to my comments to ask me questions or say something. I even recovered a groups' project that got deleted somehow from my house. They thought it was so cool (and thankful). The students knew I was in their powerpoint with them because my avatar popped up in their project, so they knew I was watching. My student teacher said that definitely kept them on task. With Google Drive, collaboration happens in real-time, which means the students see the letters as I type them, they do not have to refresh the browser. Google Drive, among the many awesome things it can do, gives us the opportunity to be at two places at once. I wanted to keep an eye on the project and be available to the students in case they had any questions, and Google Drive allowed me to do just that. At the end of the class, I told my student teacher to put a Google Doc on the smartboard that I created and shared with him. This allowed me to talk to the whole class because they could watch the words as I typed them from my house. It allowed me to stay connected with my students and give them some reminders, despite my absence. I talked to my student teacher about this and he said it worked great. The students were glued to the screen, watching me type. The students thought it was very helpful that I was "with" them, even though I was gone from school.