Although I had previously used Drive and the associated tools, I was a dabbler rather than a driver, so to speak. It didn't take long to convert me. Through a combination of trial and error and the motivating guidance of the school's IT leader (whom I was lucky enough to have providing after school learning sessions and answering questions on tap), I began to see the potential of the system.
While I have only just begun to explore this, my immediate impressions of the potential of using Google in this way are as follows:
In terms of communicating and collaborating with colleagues.
- Sharing of key documents becomes instant and ongoing, meaning everyone has access to the latest versions, avoiding confusion and keeping communication up to date.
- Planning could become collaborative, transparent and reflective - both medium term and short term. I started doing all my planning on a Google Doc which meant it could be available for anyone to see at any time - useful if co-teachers want to check in with what I am doing on a daily basis. This improves co-ordination across classes, and accountability to what we've agreed needs teaching. I can also annotate my plans with things that went well in the lesson or not and some reflection on why, which may provide valuable insight to others in the team now or in the future.
- Changes can be made to plans, but those changes can be tracked, helping people see the process of planning not just the outcome.
- Resources can be shared more easily
- The comments and conversation features mean that dialogue and discussion could be had with regards to specifics within documents, even when you might not have time to meet face to face, promoting ongoing dialogue which is a key feature of building learning environments.
As for how it could be used as a tool to facilitate student learning - you'll have to wait for my next post.