Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Students as Teachers and Leaders with Google Drive!

About two years ago, RSU #20 adopted Google Apps for Education, and we've been expanding use ever since.  In my schools right now, about 10 classrooms in grades 3, 4 and 5 are using Google Drive to type and share their documents.  However, it takes a lot of work and time to get these classrooms ready, and it takes the technology integrators to come in and teach students and staff about how to use the Google Suite.

Enter the tech teams.

This year, I decided to try something different.  Last year, I tried doing Google Drive lessons by myself, with a group of 13-18 kids.  Talk about crazy!!  Because there were so many students that needed help with something, it made it very hard for me to get to the next step of the process, because I was constantly having to help students catch up.  This year, I decided that my student tech team at Searsport Elementary School would help me with those classes.  The fifth graders were already trained on Google from last year, so they were all set to go, but the fourth graders were new to it, so I sat down with them a few times to introduce them to Google Drive, so they could turn around and show their classmates.  In fact, the first time I met with the fourth grade team, I also had the fifth grade team there, and they worked with the fourth graders one-on-one.  Then, when it came time to show their classmates what they have learned, I divided up each of the steps that we needed to cover (logging in, creating a folder/document, sharing, etc.), and each student explained their step at the front of the room, showing them where to click as a laptop projected onto the board.

What a positive change!

The lessons this year went so much smoother and were much more efficient.  Students who weren't explaining their step were assigned as "floaters," meaning that whenever a student had a question, they would go over to help.  Now, instead of one person in the room to help guide students through the lesson, I had seven!  Last year, we couldn't even get through all the steps of the lesson without doing the follow; this year we were able to get all the way through, and even have some time leftover for the students to begin typing a piece from their writing folders!!

I also really liked doing our Google Drive lessons this way because of the leadership aspect.  Anytime we allow students to be teachers, we provide valuable opportunities to be leaders.  With our fourth grade team, I set the bar high by letting them know that they would be teaching their classmates about Google Drive; this happened within the first three weeks I began working with them.  And they took it very seriously.  One student mentioned at least three times the morning of their lesson how nervous they were (and speaking in front of your classmates is quite an intimidating thing to do in fourth grade!).  But he did a wonderful job on his piece, and I've seen his confidence and the confidence of the entire team grow.  I am so thankful for my tech teams!!

Today's/This week's tech team projects (weather permitting!):

  • Unboxing/labeling/preparing 40 Chromebooks for deployment, swapping out old carts and MacBooks
  • Burning 140-ish copies of the leadership CD the school did with Mr. Cannon (about 80 done last week)
  • LEGO Robotics kit inventories

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