By Becky Shiring
It’s time to review the worksheet from yesterday and one of your students pulls a crumpled worksheet from the bottom of her bag. Three more students can’t even find theirs. Two minutes before class starts, you have a great idea for a last minute change to a worksheet, but it’s too late, the copies have already been made and students are walking through the door. It’s the last day of class and as your students are walking out of the classroom, they dump their notebooks and worksheets in the trash can.
It would be hard to find a teacher who hasn’t experienced one of these scenarios. But by creating digital worksheets in Google Drive, these challenges can be overcome. Digital assignments provide students not only with a way to practice target skills but also to learn and refine technology skills that include things like typing, digital organization, and website navigation. And let’s not forget about the added environmental benefit that digital worksheets provide.
This post will show you how to create a digital assignment in Google Drive that can easily be shared with students in your class. To begin, the teacher and all students will need a Google account. Doing so is easy and free. Instructions can be found here.
After the accounts have been created, take the following steps:
1. Navigate to Google Drive by clicking on the apps icon from your Gmail and selecting the Drive icon.
2. Create a folder for each class by clicking “New” and selecting “Folder.”
3. To create a worksheet click on New -> Google Docs
4. Create the worksheet content. At the top of the worksheet provide the following instructions Workflow> File>Make a copy>Rename using your last name>Share with your teacher(we’ll see why in step 6).
5. To share the worksheet with students, click on “Share” and then “Get shareable link” in the top right corner. There will be a link generated that can be shared with students. This can be emailed to students or, I recommend using a url shortener like goo.gl which will take the url down to a manageable size and students can just type the url in the browser.
6. Students will then have to create their own copy of the worksheet that can be edited by following the instructions posted at the top of the page.
7. Students complete the worksheet and have their own copy that is now also shared with the teacher. The teacher can see student progress in real time and provide feedback by using the comments feature or make changes in a different color.
These are the basic steps for creating digital assignments. There are endless ideas for types of content you can create. Some teachers choose to create presentations that can be shared and students can take notes in the presentation while the teacher is going through it. I have created multimedia text sets for students to learn about special events happening in the school. Assignments can be shared between pairs or groups of students to collaborate on one document. Examples of several types of digital worksheets can be found below.
However you choose to use them, digital assignments are valuable because students don’t throw them away, they aren’t crumpled at the bottom of a bag, the teacher can easily track progress and provide individualized feedback, and students have the opportunity to revisit and revise their work with ease.
Sign up for Using Google Tools for Teaching and Learning with the EdTech Center at World Education. This series of virtual hour-long workshops will cover Google Docs, Slides, and Forms, all in one afternoon, June 28, 1:00-5:00 pm EDT. Attend one or try them all. Experiment with new techniques and learn new tricks to enhance instruction. Unlike in a typical webinar setting, participants will have the opportunity to dive in and try out the tools during the workshop. Learning is better with friends! Gather together your colleagues and turn it into an in-service afternoon. Our Google expert facilitator, Ed Latham, will share techniques for different levels and interests. The cost is $30 per person if you register by May 15. This covers all three sessions. Register today!
Becky Shiring is the Training Manager at Silent Circle, a technology company focused on privacy and security in digital environments. She also works with various organizations in the DC Metro area to provide professional development focused on technology integration. She has taught a variety of ESOL and ABE classes since 2006.