There are a lot of posts floating out there in the blogosphere about how teachers are using the much applauded infusion of Google Keep within Google Docs. Like this fantastic post about using Digital stickers as seen here.
Seriously awesome stuff.
In my small corner of the world, my principal and I began a mentor- mentee program with our students. We thought it would be of great value if we provided a school-wide mentorship program involving all of our faculty and staff.
I do have to give prompts to the forward-thinking on behalf of my principal.
On the flipside, we also felt that some students would greatly benefit if they became mentors themselves. What a boost of confidence on their part! Some middle school students became mentors themselves under the supervision of elementary teachers…. And then a lucky bunch of students were selected to be with me, as “students under special assignment.” Under my wings, I had to not only advise them on how to be better organised, but also assist them on a collaborative school-wide initiative: creating an online assignment agenda.
First, I need to address my organizational methods: My desk.
Seriously, I know what goes on here. It is the equivalent to my 5,000 tabs open at once on my Internet Browser. First, we have a pile of things that I have to do because it is my right and responsibility as an educator, coach, and student and technology services coordinator. Then I have a pile of things that I would rather do, like play around with new apps, rewrite computer curriculum, and play Minecraft to create a lesson plan. And lastly I have a pile of things that I really want to get to but can’t because pile #1 takes precedence, and pile #2 is my “mind break” from pile #1. So pile #3 (which is usually me compiling my ideas for this blog) sits dormant. It’s complicated, I know.
Anyway, I was presented with the idea of having students create an online homework board so that both parents and students can easily access daily homework if absent or forgot to write something down. The thought was that it would also alleviate the stress of teachers having to do it all while giving a selected group of students more responsibility. So I thought about it for at least a minute about what tool I could use, and thought: camera, Keep, Docs. And just like that. the photogenic digital collaborative homework board was born using tablets, Google Keep and Docs. Oh and about 10 5th-8th grade students. They’re important too; I cannot forget about them.
At the end of each day these students meet in my room, grab a few tablets, and venture off into each classroom and take photographs of the teacher’s homework boards using the camera in Google Keep. My selected “students on special assignment” then import the photos from Keep into a “shared to the universe” Google Doc that is available on our school Website.
I have to say, the students love the responsibility and take it very seriously. The teachers love it as it alleviates the stress of them having to remember to post it each day and it helps bridge the gap between home and school. As an added bonus, my students on special assignment never seemed to mind my desk. Win-win!
Whether you agree with a school-wide homework board, or homework in general, or not, (whole other post for another day) is completely away from the fact that the students collaboratively come together each day and use two simple tools and turned it into a daily job. Which is really cool.
Think of the possibilities! Go outdoors (my favorite pastime) and have students use the Keep app to take photographic evidence and documentation to later be able to create a collaborative piece in Google Docs! Right? Yes!
I personally used Keep a lot on my phone when I would go to conferences and/or workshops and was not interested in taking notes if a presentation wasn’t shared with me (yes, that happens occasionally). Now, I can put it all in one, convenient document! You saw my desk- my Keep app is just as organised. In all honesty, you have to see how organised I am in my Google Drive, calendar and email. Give me paper, and I have no clue what to do with it.