Workshops‎ > ‎

2011-01-14 Using Google Docs to Support Your PLC

Mark Wagner, Ph.D.

Take your professional learning community to the next level by using Google Docs to collaborate with colleagues. Google Docs is an online office suite that allows you to create, edit, share, and publish documents, including spreadsheets and presentations. Because everything is stored and even modified on the web, Google Docs makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues - and even to edit the same document from multiple computers simultaneously. This session will focus on the use of Google Docs to promote and support collaboration within a PLC, including strategies for creating common assessments, sharing best practices, and capturing the conversation - even between meetings. Google Docs can even be used for data collection and analysis. This one tool can revolutionize the way your PLC collaborates. And it’s free. (This is a hands-on DOUBLE session: 2.5 hours.)

What is Google Docs?

Interactive Overview (with Links to Help Pages):

Activity 1: How can Google Docs be used to extend your PLC online?
  • Example answers include:
    • Using a document for shared assessments, lesson plans, meeting minutes, or other resources.
    • Using a presentation for shared materials - or presenting data.
    • Using a spreadsheet for sharing and analyzing data.
  • Create a document, presentation, or spreadsheet to illustrate your answer.
  • Add colleagues as collaborators.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.

Activity 2: Who are we? (Using Google Docs Forms)
  • No Google account is required!
  • Complete this demo survey.
  • View the results.
  • Demonstration: View summary.
  • Demonstration: Create and publish a chart.
  • Demonstration: Self Grading Quiz (Your answer to the last question on the survey will be graded!)

Activity 3: How can Google Docs Forms be used for Data Collection, Analysis, and Sharing?
  • Example topics include:
    • A Teacher (or Student) Observation Form
    • A WASC Data Collection Form
    • An Awards Nomination Form
    • A Professional Development Evaluation
    • A Staff or Community Survey
    • A PLC Team Meeting Form
      • Attendance
      • Team Smart Goal
      • Strategies and Action Steps
      • Responsibilities
      • Timeline
      • Evidence of Effectiveness
    • Advanced: A Self-Grading Quiz
  • Create a form for collecting data.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.
  • Send the "live form" link to colleagues so they can fill out your form.
  • Share the results with colleagues or publish them as a web page.
  • Optional: Create (and publish) charts of the results.

CHALLENGE Activity: Create a self-grading quiz! (Time permitting)
  • Create a three question quiz using a Google Form.
  • Solicit sample answers from some colleagues.
  • Create an IF formula for each question to "grade" the question. (Each IF formula needs to be in a new column.)
  • Fill Down so that the IF formulas you've written can "grade" all the responses at once!
  • Advanced: Create a SUM formula to total up the total score for each person that took the quiz. Then create another formula to calculate the percentage. Finally, create a nested IF formula to convert the percentages to letter grades!
  • Time Permitting: Share your quiz with the lead learner. Links to the quizes will be added below.
  • SUPER CHALLENGE: With clever use of the Transpose and Filter functions, you can get your results to appear in a verticle format in a separate sheet (for one submission at a time). This way you can "print out" (to PDF or to Paper) an individual teacher's observation - or an individual student's quiz!

BONUS Activity: Using Google Docs and Forms on a Mobile Device (Time Permitting)

More Sample Uses of Google Docs:

Getting Started
  • Create a Google Account (if you don't already have one).
  • Login to Google Docs
  • Click on the "New" button to the left and select the type of document.
  • Play... and return to this page for more information and tutorials. :)
  • You might also find the Google Docs Help Center (including getting started guides)... helpful

Reflection Activity
  • Join the League Learning Network, the CLMS & CLHS online social network.
  • Reply to the "How can you use Google Docs to support your PLC?" forum discussion.
  • Consider specific things you learned that you would like to implement in the coming school year. What are your next steps? And what do you still have to learn?
  • Please reply to your colleagues' posts as well so that the discussion there can grow. :)

Online Evaluation (A Google Form!)

More Features and Resources (Supporting PLCs)

How can Features of Google Docs be used to support student subgroups?

Differentiated Learning
  • Sharing One-to-one with Teacher OR Collaborative Group Work
  • Creating Inquiry-Driven and/or Project-Based Assignments (See examples below... )
Document Student Learning (Process and Progress)
Frequent Formative Assessments

Sample Uses of Google Docs to Support Student Subgroups (From Student & Teacher Templates)

More Specific Examples of Google Docs for Project-Based Learning (from Google Certified Teachers)

Examples from GCT Sallie Hill
Example from GCT Thomas Cooper
  • Vernal Ponds project uses Google Docs. Students collect data on the vernal
    ponds around their school over a period of time, and then use Google forms
    and spreadsheets to upload and share the data between student groups, and
    then docs to collaboratively create data charts and write reports.
Example from GCT Nic Finnelli
  • A first-year teacher at one of my elementary schools has just jumped on
    board with Google Docs and is trying this with her class. Students in
    specific reading groups are to read their chosen WWII historical fiction
    book (each group was given a different choice of books within their reading
    level), work together to make a presentation about the book. They are to
    include the following: book title and author, short summary of the text,at
    least one multimedia file (video, pictures, audio, etc.), what you
    learned about World War II when reading the text, whether or not you would
    recommend this book to others and why
    She just started this on Monday, but it is neat to see things in action and
    the process. This is definitely a work in progress.
    Her school site with directions and links to docs made by students
New Examples from GCT Angela O'Dowd

Using Google Forms for Peer-Assessment (For Frequent Assessment with Immediate Feedback)

Example from GCT Katie Morrow
  • Providing authentic assessment in project based classrooms is challenging. Google forms has allowed for the self and peer evaluation process to be much smoother, faster to tabulate, and has provided much more authentic feedback to all students involved in the learning projects. In addition I have found that when I use a google form for peer assessment, that the students' NEXT projects improve by leaps and bounds as opposed to just receiving feedback from me (it seems the kids listen better to their peers than their teacher!) Here are a couple of examples.
  • First the form is created with the assessment criteria
  • Then the link to the form is shared with students (I personally love how easy it is to embed within an iWeb site). Google Apps for Ed allows me to share with the entire domain at once, also.
  • Students submit their peer and/or self assessments and refresh their page before the next presentation
  • After the results are tabulated in the Google spreadsheet, I sort by student name and add an average formula if I need a numerical grade. The most valuable part, however, is sharing the honest, anonymous feedback with the students who created each project-- either digitally or just printed on paper and cut apart.

How can Features of Google Docs be used for classroom management?

Manage Student Behavior and Behavior Data
  • See the sample templates and examples below.
  • Many of the following features are also valuable for tracking student behavior.
Manage Student Work and Group Work
Manage Assessments and Assessment Data

Eric Castro: instructions for in-class learning activities, I project onto screen via Keynote. Written directions clarify/ reinforce verbal (Presentations)
Elizabeth Calhoon: Create a student interest form to start class. (Forms)

Sample Uses of Google Docs for Classroom Management (Templates)

Manage Student Behavior and Behavior Data
Manage Student Work and Group Work
Manage Assessments and Assessment Data

Even More...