Collaboration in G Suite – An Overview

G Suite for Education is a great platform for giving students feedback on their work. The apps in G Suite are also great for facilitating student collaboration.  Let’s look at how teachers can use G Suite for student collaboration.

A Quick Note

This post is meant for teachers who are almost proficient with or just learning G Suite. Additionally, this post contains nothing about add-ons, extensions, coding, or anything extra. Strictly G Suite.

Sharing (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

G Suite allows sharing in which collaborators can receive edit access.

Give a collaborator edit access
Give a collaborator edit access

Collaborators can also receive “Can comment” access that allows for commenting in a doc, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing.

Give a collaborator comment access
Give a collaborator comment access

Email Collaborators (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

Email collaborators is a great way for collaborators to communicate about a file they are working on. The person initiating the conversation need not open Gmail. They also get to choose the exact collaborators they want to send a message to. Click File>>>Email collaborators… to use this function.

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Assign Action Items (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

Use the comment function and type a “+” or “@” with a collaborator’s email address to assign them an action item. That pushes an email to their inbox telling them they have been assigned an action item.

Assign an Action Item using Comments.
Assign an Action Item using Comments.

Suggesting Mode (Works in Docs)

In the Google Docs editor, notice the pencil in the upper-right corner. Click it and choose “Suggesting” in the drop-down menu.

Suggesting Mode in the Google Docs editor.
Suggesting Mode in the Google Docs editor.

Make edits. They appear as suggestions.

Suggesting Mode in Action
Suggesting Mode in Action

Collaborators can approve or reject suggestions by checking “✔️” or “✖️.”

Collaborators can accept or reject suggestions.
Collaborators can accept or reject suggestions.

Version History (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

Version history is a great way for teachers and collaborating students to keep track of ongoing collaborations. Ever wonder which member of a group made a contribution to a G Suite file? Version history reveals all. Click File>>>Version history to access a detailed history of all edits to a G Suite file. Version history allows editors to restore a version. This is a great way to save the day if one collaborator has made many incorrect edits to a G Suite file/

Accessing Version History in Google Docs.
Accessing Version History in Google Docs.

Differentiation in Google Classroom

Let’s conclude with an easy way for teachers to turbo-charge collaboration in Google Classroom. Any post (announcement, question, or assignment) can be shared only with specific students even though the default is set to all students in a class. Have a look at how it works from Google’s The Keyword blog:

Google Classroom Differentiation
Google Classroom Differentiation

Teachers can use this to facilitate collaboration in two ways:

  1. Create a post that shares files only with group captains. Each group captain can then share their files with their group members.
  2. Create posts only for groups. This is not that difficult because of the reuse post feature. Use it to use the same post for each group with slight adjustments for each group.

For more information on differentiation in Google Classroom, please watch this video.

The Future of Collaboration in G Suite – Google Jamboard

If your district uses iPads or Play Store enabled Chromebooks, your students can use the Google Jamboard app right now. This online collaborative whiteboard is the new frontier in G Suite collaboration.  Have a look at me demonstrating it on my Chromebook. As you watch, please note – I now know what the lasso tool does. It selects elements on the screen, resizes, and moves them. It’s actually very useful.

Thank you for reading. If you would like to share your thoughts about collaboration in G Suite with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney.

The G Suite logo I used in the image for this blog post.

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Feedback for Students in G Suite – An Overview

Teachers and students in districts that use Google for Education have access to a free suite of apps, G Suite, to create and publish. But why use G Suite? Why not Microsoft, pen-and-paper, or go full tactile and have students use typewriters? The reason to use G Suite is feedback – collaboration too, but that is a separate blog post!

A Quick Note

This post is meant for teachers who are almost proficient with or just learning G Suite. Additionally, this post contains nothing about add-ons, extensions, coding, or anything extra. Strictly G Suite.

What is so special about feedback?

One of the most valuable interventions teachers can use with students is feedback. According to Hattie and Timperley (2007) feedback is vital:

…Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement…The feedback that students receive from their teachers is also vital. It enables students to progress towards challenging learning intentions and goals.

– Visible Learning

Marianne Stenger shared research tips for providing students meaningful feedback in Edutopia. Number 2 on the list? The sooner the better. That’s where G Suite comes in. Here is a quick-and-dirty look at using G Suite to give students immediate feedback.

Comments (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

Comments are a great way to give students immediate feedback as they work in G Suite. Select text or an image. There are three ways to insert a comment:

Demonstration of 3 Ways to Insert a Comment in the Google Docs Editor

Use either of these methods and type a comment:

Animated GIF of a comment inserted into a Google Doc

Comments are even better when an editor is tagged in them. This sends an email to their Gmail. Tag an editor by typing “+” or “@” followed by their email address.

Animated GIF of an editor tagged in a comment

Comment boxes serve as spaces where teachers and students can converse. Here teachers and peers can give feedback about work.

Screen capture of a discussion in a Google Docs comment

Comments “disappear” when they are resolved. The good news is they never truly disappear. The “Comments” button in the upper right of the editor keeps a record of them. This is great for keep track of all feedback students receive, whether it is from teachers or peers.

Demonstration of Comments history in Google Docs

Feedback in Google Classroom

Teachers can add a private comment to any assignment in Google Classroom. This is what it looks like as a student:

Private comment feedback from a teacher in Google Classroom

Teachers can also give feedback for students’ answers when they reply to questions in Google Classroom:

Feedback on a student's reply to a question in Google Classroom

A nice aspect of feedback in Google Classroom is that it keeps track of the number of private feedback comments exchanged between student and teacher. What a great way to document the amount of feedback provided to a student.

Google Classroom keeps track of the feedback comments exchanged between teacher and student

Google Keep (Works in Docs, Drawings and Slides)

Google Keep integration is a great way to give feedback in Docs, Drawings, and Slides. One way to do this is to have comments ready to go in a Google Keep note, then copy-and-paste them into comments.

Additionally, Google Keep can be used to give students longer-form narrative feedback in Docs, Drawings, and Slides. To make the most of this strategy, create a label for each student and each assignment in Google Keep. That way, feedback can be organized by assignment and by student.

In Docs:

In Drawings:

In Slides:

Google Forms (Response Validation and Quiz Mode)

Response validation is a great way to give students a question they work on until they get correct. I love using Response Validation for digital breakouts. Simply use short-answer questions in Google Forms, click the three dots, and choose Response Validation.

Screen capture of Response validation in Google Forms

This is a great strategy for a math problem – students receive an error message until they type the correct answer. They know immediately if they are correct or wrong – instant feedback!

Animated GIF of response validation in Google Forms

Error messages (the red text above) are a great way to scaffold for students as they work on finding an answer.

Here I demonstrate to use Response Validation:

Quiz Mode is another good way to give students feedback in Google Forms.  Quiz mode allows teachers to give different feedback for correct and incorrect answers. It also allows for links to be added to answer feedback, meaning students can be directed to a resource to re-learn questions they answered incorrectly. Watch as I demonstrate:

Two G Suite Apps That Are Not Great for Student Feedback – (Forms?! and Sites)

Didn’t I just discuss ways to use Google Forms to give students feedback? Yes, I did. Forms is great for giving feedback when they answer forms their teachers create. However, when students create Google Forms, there is no good way for teachers to give feedback inside of Google Forms. The same holds true for the Google Sites (still called New Sites). As much as I love Google Sites, I wish there was a way teachers and students could exchange feedback inside its editor.

If you would like to share your thoughts with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

The G Suite logo I used in the image for this blog post.

I Made a Jeopardy QR Code Board – You Can Too!

Jeopardy QR Codes

My colleagues Tara Hewitt and Ryan Miller developed the idea of a Jeopardy board to encourage participants at the Orange County Schools Summer Conference to tweet their learning. They wanted a physical Jeopardy board with QR codes participants could scan to access Twitter challenges. After the challenges – the answers in this Jeopardy – were written, it was up to me to use technology to make it happen.

Good thing I attend EdCamps! I met Jessica Schouweiler at EdcampWNC in Fall 2015. She shared a Google Sheet that automatically generates QR codes for websites. Make a copy for yourself. So now making QR codes is easy. But what should those QR codes point to?

I decided to use Google Slides to make the challenges. Using the Colorzilla Google Chrome extension, I matched the Jeopardy blue color and made it the background color. Each hint (fifteen in all) were separate Google Slides presentations. Each was exactly one slide. Making exact copies of each file is easy. Right click on the file in Drive and choose “make a copy.”

Screenshot 2016-06-17 at 4.31.25 PM

Then simply change the text. Make a copy of one of these slides for yourself. Then publish each slide to the web.

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I then put each URL into the QR Google Sheet referenced above. I screen captured the individual QR codes and pasted each into a new Google Slides presentation with 8.5in x 11in dimensions.

I used Canva to design the category heading images. I set my image to 8.5in x 11in. I used Colorzilla to set the color to the Jeopardy blue and used the Roboto font which does not quite match the Jeopardy font but is good enough. I downloaded each as a PNG (not a JPG) to maintain quality when printing.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 at 4.45.46 PM

Here is how the board looked after printing and stapling:

Jeopardy Board

And how each Twitter challenge looked when participants scanned them:

Jeopardy on Phone

Have a look at the tweets with the conference hashtag, #FirstChoice4PD.

Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions, please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom.

 

Make Paperless Assessment with Google Forms – Part 2 of 2: Grading with Flubaroo

In part 1 of this post, I showed you how to create a Google Form, import questions from a Google Doc or Word Doc and collect answers. Now it is time to grade your Google Form and give students quick, helpful feedback.

Start by going to the Google Form assessment you shared with your students:

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Then return to the Google Form’s answers spreadsheet:

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Now it is time to install the Flubaroo add-on for Google Sheets. This is what makes grading the Google Form so easy:

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Now that it is installed, use it to grade the answers by taking these steps:

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Flubaroo is very valuable to teachers. It highlights students who struggled and questions many students answered incorrectly. It has one other great feature: the ability to quickly give students detailed feedback. To e-mail students their results:

Screenshot 2015-05-13 at 9.33.10 AM

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Some teachers might not be comfortable e-mailing the answer key. I prefer total transparency when assessing students. The nice thing about Flubaroo is that it gives you options for how much you share with students.

If you would like to know more about creating assessments in Google Forms, take a loot at part 1 of this post. If you would like to ask me any questions about making paperless assessment in Google Forms, comment below or send me a tweet at @edtechtom.