Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rationalism Project Update

As we're closing in on the first official deadline (tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.), we are running into a few speed bumps with our collaborative project between Farmington HS and Pleasant Plains HS.  Some students have not received invitations to a Google Doc from their partner.  This may be a result of mistyping email addresses into the invitation screen of Google Docs.  Students also appear to be rushing into the process without much communication with their parters.  While both issues are cause for frustration, I also see that some "real world" issues are surfacing here.  People in the business world experience similar communication problems as well.

I also have noticed that some students are having difficulty grasping the concept that Google Docs saves to the internet.  They are apparently too used to creating a document and emailing that document - if edits are required, they then make a new document and re-email it.  The great thing about Google Docs - the part that seems to be escaping them - is that the document is still out there.  It can be edited any time, and once the Save button is clicked, those who Share the document are able to see the updates.  Likewise, those who share the document as collaborators are able to edit that same document and those updates are saved to the internet for the owner of the document to view/edit as well.  I am slowly making headway with the concept.  Sometimes the technology aspect seems so easy to me that I have to backtrack and think about the steps from multiple angles so I can explain it better to the students.  Those that have figured it out have had the "gotcha" moment, and all is good with them.

One of the things that Lee and I discussed today that may make a project like this run more smoothly is to put more time between the biographical sketches due date and the first project deadline - probably a week.  That will give us more time to make sure the students are all set up with one Google Doc per group, and it will eliminate the issue of not having the correct email addresses.  Then, when the actual project is initiated, the groundwork is set, and the students can focus on the project itself.

I think everything will fall into place tomorrow, and we'll be back on track.  I've been fielding emails this evening and have been seeing progress within the groups.

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