Tech Thursday: Working in Shared Google Files
Using shared docs/slideshows for collaborative student work in remote synchronous classes.
I wrote a tip previously about how to lock parts of slides, but given the recent Chronicle article on breakout rooms and how to make breakout rooms more interactive, I thought I’d share how I use a slideshow* to facilitate interactive student group work during class. Here’s the link to the shared student slideshow example I use below.
Before the group work begins, I start with the instructions slide (below) on screenshare (and the instructions are copied to the student slides - remember, once they’re in breakout rooms they can no longer see the main room screen share). I try to give concrete items for them to address in their groups, and not too many subtasks. I paste the link to the shared student slides into the chat so that everyone is “in” the shared file before sending them off to their breakout rooms. I tell them that one person should record, and one should be prepared to share out when we are all back together.
Once they’re in the breakout rooms, they work together in the student slideshow where each room has it’s own slide (slides 2 and 3 below are examples). I like to keep groups small (3-4) for an activity like this, so I would have 6-8 different groups going. Typically, the class warm-up is also in the student slides (slide 1 - a slightly goofy warm-up, but I found that the students this semester really enjoyed funny warmups as a space to share a little about their concerns, so I had quite a few that were variants of “how do you feel about…”)
As the groups discussed and added thoughts to their slides, I started to collect ideas I wanted to probe further on when we came back together (slide 4 below).
Once the breakout time is up and we’ve all made it back into the main room, I ask one person from each group to share, while screensharing that group’s slide. As they share and classmates ask questions, I continue to take notes on slide 4. When all the groups are done, I display the collected thoughts and we collectively work on the next steps - with this exercise, I collected all of the “what do we need” ideas, and then as a class we brainstormed the “what can we do to get there” pieces.
*You can, of course, do this with any shared application - a document/spreadsheet but also a whiteboard - but I like slides because each group has a separate slide and won’t accidentally type over or delete information from another group, something that I find is more likely to occur in a shared document.