Nov 20, 2012

Full Google Drive Integration into a Science Project


A group project involving the promotion of global aid organizations.  How can students collaborate on this project from home and school alike?  Can we use Google Applications to make the whole project more efficient and productive?  Windows Movie Maker had been used ineffectively to do something similar in the past.


 Create a worksheet in Google Docs and email it to the students.  Do their research and image gathering in Google Docs using the Research tool.  Create the product in Photostory.  Provide feedback and assessment using a Google Form.

How We Did It:


During this project I worked hand in hand with Environmental Studies teacher Joel Swanson.  We first developed a Make an Impact Worksheet in Google Docs that provided students not only with the typical information they would need, but also with links to research  locations, help sheets, and more.  Because his students were/are still learning the ins and outs of Google Drive, I decided not to "Share" the document with them, but rather to "Publish" the worksheet to the web, and send them a link through their Gmail account.  This method (explained here) allows the students to simply click on a link and interact with the worksheet; precisely what we needed.  *As an aside, you can also embed a document like this directly into a page on your CMS if you wish*

Google Docs ResearchOur next step was to introduce a new way to research information to the kids.  We had them create a Google Doc, share it with their group members, and then dive into the Research tool that Google offers.  Information about sharing files and the research function can be found in the training > help sheets area on Teacher's Corner.  Students were excited about how easy it was to find information, move it into their shared research document, and keep track of their citations!  The best part?  Both group members can be finding images and doing research on the same document at the same time!   What a time saver.




We then proceeded to have the students created their Impact Videos using Photostory.  If you are looking to have students narrate over images that they find during research, I cannot stress the ease of use and professional quality that you can get with Photostory. It can be downloaded on student computers through Stuview, and is a free download from Microsoft for home use.  The Make an Impact Video Worksheet (linked above) has a link to a Photostory help sheet if you are interested.

Finally, and most excitingly, we had students participate in the assessment and feedback process by having them fill in a form as groups presented.  The form, pictured here, allowed students to rate each aspect of the presentations and provide written feedback to each group.  It kept students engaged in the presentations and provided them a quick and simple way to voice their opinions.  The best part?  The form collects all of the scores, we tallied everything up in less than a prep period, and just like that we had every presentation scored and ready to hand back!  We even copied each written comment into a Word document to be handed back to students when we see them after Thanksgiving.  Since we are leaving for Thanksgiving break, the top three groups are going to be notified through their Gmail accounts.

If you have any questions about the project, please leave a comment!

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