By Susan Gaer
One of my favorite mobile tools is Google Docs. With Google Docs, you can share and collaborate with colleagues and students, help students with their writing by adding comments and revising, and see the revision history – which is good for grading collaborative work and to revert back to a previous version. In addition, it is easy for students to set up electronic portfolios that can be easily shared from a mobile device or computer. Before you or your students can begin to use Google Docs via mobile, you will need to download Google Drive and Google Docs from either the Apple App Store or Google Play. Students can do this as well on their phones.
Note: Screenshots are taken from an Android phone. The iPhone version looks slightly different.
Have students create their own folder.
Set up a document for students to practice on.
Once your students have a folder, they can develop their own portfolios with any writing assignment. I have my students use their Google Docs for their writing journals. They can also collaborate and share.I recently used a peer review sheet. Students shared writing and gave input to peers directly on their document. Finally we created a group story. Students were divided into small groups of two or three. Each group found 1-3 pictures and wrote a group story about it. One student in each group typed the story and shared it with all others in the group. They then went home and refined it and each posted a finished copy in their folder.
It might seem like a lot of work to have your whole class start using Google Docs on their mobile devices, but it really isn’t. Just model it step-by-step having students follow you on their devices. If students don’t have access to Internet at school, take them on a field trip to the library or Starbucks. After they have set it up, it is easy for them to write, get corrections, peer edit, and share. In addition, you are teaching them how to set up an E-portfolio that will follow them throughout their academic or work careers.
Susan Gaer is a professor at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education, one of the largest non-credit programs in the state of California. She has been there since 1994. In addition, she is one of the series consultants for Project Success published by Pearson. Currently, Susan is on the boards of both CATESOL and TESOL. She is also an Academic Senator and a member of the CAI (Common Assessment Initiative) for ESL. She is an avid user of technology and advocates for more use of technology by presenting at conferences both statewide and internationally.