We are lucky in our school board to have Google Apps for Education for both staff and students, and I have been very enthusiastic about using the apps for a variety of tasks. Recently in my AQ course, we were presented with the task of looking at curriculum from a TPACK perspective. We were given one cue card with some content we had to teach, one with a teaching style or pedagogy, and one with a technology tool. Our cards said: DRAMA (content), DESCRIPTIVE FEEDBACK (pedagogy), and GOOGLE FORMS (technology).
“Impossible!” We all said (I was working in a group of 3). And then we started thinking about it. We were all familiar with the way our students give descriptive feedback to their peers on a regular basis: the 2 stars and a wish model. Essentially, the students raise their hands after watching a performance, and give feedback that is either positive, or a wish for improvement.
I wondered what would happen if instead of having the same 3 students always raising their hands to give stars and wishes, we gave them the Chromebooks and had them type their stars and wishes online. We assumed that the students would be much more willing to comment if they didn’t have to speak about their stars and wishes in front of the whole class.
Last week, I put it to the test. A grade 3/4 class that I teach was ready to perform the dances they had been creating. I signed out the Chromebooks, and handed them out to students. I showed them how to get to the form I created.
On the form itself, the students had to select the group they wanted to comment on from a drop-down menu. Then they had to select whether they wanted to submit a star or a wish. If they selected star, they were sent to another page of the form where they typed in their comment. Likewise for the wish selection. When they were finished typing their comment, they clicked “select” and were then prompted to either close the form or submit another response (allowing them to comment more than once if they wished). I gave them no further instructions.
I was amazed by what I got from these students. Most of the students took the initiative to give both a star and a wish comment, and all students framed both their stars and wishes in positive terms. Here are some of the examples of comments from the students. These are copied word for word.
What’s more is that the students LOVED completing the form. They all wanted to say something about each group that performed. We still have some more performances to go through, so there is the potential for the novelty to wear off, but I can see them being interested for a long while.
They rembered there dance and did it at the same time
I loved the flow, so much!
You guys did amazingly awesome I love your cool movements
I like how you took it nice and slow
They had graseful movementes and I love the dance moves.
I like the costumes.
they used powerful strokes in the dance.
they cept in syince
My wish for them is to make the dance a bit more longer.
Next time be prepared for the dance and maybe you should have made your dance longer.
They should work on doing their performance faster and taking their dance more seriously
I wish they could make the hiding part more clear
My wish is for them not to be silly and not laugh when there doing the play it kind of messes the play up.
They should work on their time
My next goal is to create a form with a video of the performance embedded right beside it. This would be for the students of the group to self-evaluate. What do you think?
This past weekend I was extremely lucky. I got to attend the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit.
I have been telling everyone that the Google Summit changed my life, and it is absolutely true. I really feel that I am looking at education and technology in a completely different way than I did before I attended this amazing event. Yes, I learned a lot of cool things about Google Apps and some impressive tricks that I can wow my friends with. But that wasn’t the best thing I took away from the Summit. Not even close.
What I came home with was a deeper understanding of what it means to be a teacher and a student today. And what I have discovered is that it’s okay to not have all of the answers. As a teacher I have a plethora of tools to help me find the answers, and a world-wide network of like-minded teachers, to help me and inspire me, at my finger tips.
And most importantly, it doesn’t matter what technology tools I prefer to use in my classroom, because the fast pace of these innovations is fostering a mindset of testing things out and seeing what works. There will always be new and better things available to me and to my students. But taking that plunge into something new and exploring it together is an authentic learning process that will be repeated over and over in my life and in the lives of my students.
As a teacher, I can lead my students into responsible digital citizenship, by being a responsible, innovative, and inspiring digital citizen myself. And that is now my major career goal.