Sunday, 3 August 2014

Google Drive with Y12s Integration - Update

A few things to talk about:
1) Change of Mindsets
2) Adaptation
3) Continued Resistance
4) Drive Strategies

Change of Mindsets

Am incredibly proud of one particular student, C, who has made the choice to have a Hotmail account for personal emails and a Gmail account for school. This in and of itself isn't that big a deal except for the fact that for C it was the biggest stumbling block for her. She was resistant and I was okay with that - we talked via email during the holidays - I said I would send what she needed via Hotmail and print anything else out she needed as well too. Eventually I'm pretty sure it was her friends that changed her mind when they agreed with my last tiny little suggestion when we were back at school to just use Gmail for school.

Not only is this noteworthy, but she has made huge leaps of learning within using Google docs and she seems to now have a Growth mindset in regards to using the tool and making sure she is still asking for help when needed. Her depth of analysis is like a chasm and she is definitely my biggest success story. So proud of her!

One student commented on the fact that we'd be going two steps back and one step forward when I asked them to use the paper version. I'd said - if Drive doesn't work soon then we'll just have to continue on paper or Word. It was mildly entertaining seeing their looks of shock because they seem to have transitioned well and blended learning is working really well for them.

The student that commented on the technological dance we would do has made significant progress as well. At the beginning she asked me to go slower for her because they hadn't had a computer in the house for five years and so her computer skills weren't up to scratch. But jeez that girl is a fast learner. She caught onto the reasons I was beginning to use Drive early on and saw the merits in using it to collaborate with her partner while they're at home or on separate computers working on the same document.

When showing this reason to another student last week he exclaimed very loudly, "why are you only showing me this now! This is awesome!" But I had before. They just weren't ready to hear it. So now using Drive collaboratively is working and using it seems to be helping to create more resilient students who are willing to embrace change. So proud :)

Adaptation

Students have adapted well to using Google Apps for Education and their mindsets are developing rapidly to improve the integration of technology into their learning. My students see the effectiveness of learning like this. I see them having changed their mindset with me and that's a huge confidence boost in and of itself.

They ask more questions now that they're using Google docs. My students ask deeper questions, showing that they've really thought about their understanding of the task and their interpretation of their own analysis.  I look at their work quickly - make comments and give them feed-forward task and ideas to develop their thinking further.

I just hope that they won't get off put when we go back to using traditional methods because we can't use the laptops all the time as we don't have the right to monopolize them. There is an entire school that needs to use them as well in the English dept.

I'm also hoping that I've taught them enough resilience now and adaptability that no matter how we're learning - they will work with it, around and through it to develop a more coherent and in-depth understanding regardless of the tools we use.

Continued Resistance

Still don't know why the last couple of students are resistant. At the last parent teacher interviews, I had a meeting with one of my Y12 students and her mum where we talked about the course and her troubles she was having in class. Her Mum had reservations in her daughter using the technology - it wasn't the time to get into an argument about it and I could have explained why I was using Google Apps for Education with my Y12s then but it wasn't the reason they had come to the interviews. I needed to make it clear that her daughter was still getting the same resources as everyone else but just on paper as her daughter had requested. And that was as far as I got with explaining the equity within the class in regards to all my students getting the same resources.

I'm happy with however my students learn as long as they are learning to the best of their abilities whether it be visually, aurally or kinetically (or a combination) and that my students continue to ask for help when needed.

Drive Strategies

It's important to remember that Google Drive is still only a tool for learning. More importantly that the way I teach my class is still relational, warm, welcoming and supportive. I still check in on each group, ask guiding and feedforwarding questions and make use of their prior knowledge to facilitate the learning.

With any internet tool there needs to be expectations and guidelines for use - which is where the move from cybersafety to digital citizenship comes in. Teaching my students the importance of sharing permissions is imperative as they  learn that they have the ability within Drive to decide who sees it, comments on it and who can edit their work.

That control over their work then helps them to realise that the sharing of pictures, information etc is not controllable over social media and the wider internet - so they must be careful with what they share.

Last week the internet wasn't working properly so we couldn't access Drive from the COWs (Computers/Laptops on Wheels). We talked about the need to have a USB stick to save their work each day - just in case that happens again.

We also discussed the importance of only sharing their work with those in their own groups - despite having discussed it before - so that they could have themselves and their partner as well as myself on their folders and vis a vis their contents of their folders. I asked the students to make sure my sharing permissions were only as commenting rather than editing.

Why do this?

Teaching my Y12 students these skills are important because they're life skills. They live and breathe in a technological world and need to know how to navigate it safely and confidently.