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Raising student writing levels using Google docs

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Duration: 2:34

Vimi Chandra explains her teacher inquiry aimed at raising the writing levels of targeted students. Students learning needs were identified. Tools and strategies to maximise those learning needs were selected. Google docs and a variety of mobile devices were used. Vimi comments, "There was explicit teaching in the set up of Google docs, and now it’s just taken off." Students in Vimi's class explain how they work collaboratively using Google docs, and the benefits of this collaboration for their learning.

Vimi Chandra
My teacher inquiry for this term was based on raising the writing levels of my students and I was focussing mainly on Google docs this term and using a variety of mobile devices and devices in general. We did some testing at the start of the year and we identified or selected some Ministry target students and then we identified their learning needs and chose tools and strategies to maximise those learning needs and then we set up Google docs. There was explicit teaching in the set up of Google docs, and now it’s just taken off.

Steven and I are working on the same story, which is winter sports field day. And whenever, well, if he makes a mistake or I make a mistake, we both put comments and tell them where we’ve made the mistake. Or if we need to give feedback or feedforward we give it.

Vimi Chandra
So the results so far is that at the start there was a lot of scaffolding. Now they are more independent, they are more engaged. They are able to get onto Google docs and open up their documents and start off with their writing knowing what their learning needs are, their specific goals are. It’s more student led. There’s a lot more questioning going on. They’re writing for a real audience and it’s more purposeful as well. As they are discussing their writing they’re giving feedback and feedforward, and it’s also helping them to clarify what they’re learning about at the particular time and their success criteria.

I’m looking for figures of speech, and that’s our learning intention. So if there’s figures of speech we can comment on it, and highlight that figure of speech, and make a comment saying nice use of similes or idioms, metaphors and stuff.

Vimi Chandra
The improvement I’ve seen in their writing is that there’s a huge level jump from where they were at the start of the year to now. There’s a lot more descriptive language being used. Google docs has been great because I can give feedback to my students anytime of the day. It’s more feedforward at the time they need it, not just waiting for marking when it is time to mark their work. I know where my students are more accurately and I also find marking a lot easier. It’s more purposeful.

Tags: Teacher inquiry, Literacy, Writing, Collaborative learning, Student agency, GAFE