A Tip for Structuring Group Notes in Google Docs
Fourteen years ago, when I first started using Google Docs with students, I had the idea of having my whole class take notes on the same document. It sounded good in my head on the way to school. In practice, it was a disaster as my students were quickly frustrated by accidentally writing over each other’s notes. So I tried to ask them each to choose a color to write with to differentiate themselves and avoid writing on each other’s notes. It didn’t work out well either. Finally, I decided to put a grid in the handout and have the students write in a square of the grid. It worked, sort of … It worked best when I split the class into small groups and asked them to take notes in the grid on a shared Google document.
Today when I have students who work in small groups and take notes, I assign them to a Google document (Google Classroom makes this easy to do) that has a preformatted grid they can write in. I have used this method in my computer science lessons when students are working on troubleshooting processes. I used this method when teaching American history and having students read and evaluate historical documents. These two examples are explained and demonstrated in more detail in this new video that I recorded on Thursday.
If you want to learn more about using Google Docs in your classroom, I have a full video walkthrough on how to get started with Google Docs. And here are ten more Google Docs editing features you should know how to use.