POLAND — Some Poland students are now using Google for more than just Googling.
Donna Gookins, an English teacher at Poland Central School, has started using Google Docs in her classes for seniors and is planning to introduce Google Docs to juniors soon.
Senior students are just starting to use the technology to allow them to review each other’s essays online, work on projects together electronically and track their reading and homework assignments all in one place.
“So far, I’m happy with the results,” Gookins said. “I just see huge potential.”
Gookins introduced Google Docs, which allows for file sharing and co-editing online, to the students in mid-November. She has been testing out uses of the technology in different ways in her two college English classes and her English 12 class.
One way she has put Google Docs to use is by having students peer-review each other’s essays online through Google Docs. The students can leave comments for each other right on the online file for the essay.
Senior students Taylor Cockey, 15; David Lampasona, 17; Rebekah Braunlich, 17, and Myranda-Lyn Grunenwald, 17, are among the students who have been trying out Google Docs. As they recently sat together in a group on laptops in class, they discussed the technology.
“We share our essays and edits,” Lampasona said.
The students said there are some challenges to getting used to using Google Docs, but they’re glad to be trying something new.
“We shared our essays together and reviewed them,” Braunlich said. “It’s helpful because we can both go on at the same time.”
Cockey said he looks forward to using Google Docs in more advanced, cooperative ways.
“That’s the best thing to use it for – if you’re doing a group project,” Cockey said.
Gookins has introduced such an initiative to some of her students by having them work on Google Docs to collaboratively develop PowerPoint presentations online.
She also has been encouraging students to be patient while the glitches are being worked out. She thinks more opportunities will arise once and problems are resolved and students get used to working through Google Docs from their own computers outside of the classroom.
“I think when kids start working more at home, they’ll be able to do more,” she said.
Another way Gookins has introduced Google Docs is by providing a list online of readings for the humanitarian law unit. Students can use the list to go to readings online, view her close-reading questions that go along with the questions and either answer her questions directly on Google Docs or print them out and write out their answers.
“I see a big advantage,” she said.
Because students can access Google Docs from home in addition to on their classroom computers, Gookins expects use of the technology to only grow over time.
Page 2 of 2 - For example, if students are out sick, away on vacation or out of the classroom for any other reason, they could still view a list of readings and homework assignments and stay on track, Gookins said.
“They can open them at home if they’re not in school, and they won’t be behind at all,” she said.