We are following the Forensics module of the ASE’s Wikid Science. As part of one of the lessons pupils had to write a press release. We decided to use our real science skills and work collaboratively – using Google Docs to work on the same document at once.
Each pupil in year 7 logged on to Google Docs (Education Edition) and loaded up the template I had created (with colour coding for each pupil). Pupils each completed their own section of the press release and could see the updates from their friends in real time.
We would recommend Google Docs to other schools. The price is right – FREE (but bear in mind a maximum of 10 people can work on a document at once).
I was conducting a question level analysis of our national curriculum tests, looking for topics where there were difficulties (and comparing how pupils with ASD performed in how science works questions).
Having devised a template on Excel I proceeded to enter data for my pupils. Having completed the task it dawned on me that there would have been an easier way.
Once I had created the spreadsheet I could have used Google Forms and had the pupils enter their own data into the spreadsheet. This would save considerable time with a large mainstream class, it is also a good way to collate other examination marks or even comments written on work.
I’ve used Google Documents in class before but the need had never arisen for pupils to write on the same document at the same time. With collaborative working being an important skill in science, I decided to get my year 7 class to work collaboratively on the same document. Their task was to write a press release detailing their lab test results for their CSI topic. With all the pupils having SEN (we are a special school) , the amount of text was going to be small which makes the process a little quicker.
I created the document with a table to be used as a writing frame or scaffold for the pupils, giving them the basic structure to complete. I asked the pupils to complete a different section of the press release and colour coded the boxes so they knew which section was theirs. I shared the document with the pupils and invited them to complete their section.
Pupils were fascinated by seeing the text of their classmates appearing as they entered their own. The flicker you see as the page updates didn’t seem to bother any of them, in fact they didn’t notice it. Pupils entered their text and we reviewed the completed document.
Not only was this approach far more productive than writing their own reports, pupils had to communicate with each other and tie their contributions together. This wouldn’t have happened working individually.