At Houghton Valley School, teacher and e-learning leader, Peter Holmstead inquired into using Google apps to improve learning outcomes. He focused on four students who were high achievers and introduced them to Google Apps and Gmail to communicate and produce several projects through the year. Peter and the students comment on the benefits of working with these tools.
This year my teaching as inquiry involved looking at four students who were high achievers, kind of gifted and talented students, giving them a chance to use Google Apps and Gmail to communicate and produce several projects through the year.
Well, me, Daniel, Jordi, and Hannah, we’ve been doing like a special little extended group thing, and so we’ve been doing a PowerPoint on how books were made in old times and also in modern times, and we’ve also been doing a little community kind of booklet thing, and we chose to do Brazil.
That was basically using, like learning about how to research and put it all in onto Google Docs.
The general statistics, history, and the culture, and ethnicity.
Some of the learning intentions that we have is, well we have to make our writing interesting, make the reader want to read it, not just have to read it.
It’s definitely helped with my learning intentions because other people can help me and use the comments section to help me, give me advice about that certain subject, and what I’m doing on the Google Docs.
You can have lots and lots of people all working on the same project, and that helps because you can see what other people think you should use. With quiet people or shyer people, if you are working in a big group they often, their ideas get heard more than if they were just having a discussion.
Sharing with other people outside, like in your classroom but outside your little like extended group, I think that did help with my learning intentions because like my learning intentions are like to have really interesting language and to catch peoples eyes and like want them to read it, and I know how like different people like to read different sorts of writing.
Well the comments help because it just tells me what other people think about what I’m writing and how I’m writing it.
We could chat with each other and we could make comments and review each other.
And they might tell me, “Oh this word’s spelt wrong," or “Maybe you should add something in there." Teachers can comment on your work online and then you can reply to their comments.
I think the quality of the output was pretty amazing really for, you know, four 10 year old kids.