Today we had a English Writing Day with ninthgraders. We have recently introduced them to the Gmail/Calendar/Docs environment by creating an account for each student. The tasks themselves were posted in a shared document. All they had to do was to create a new document themselves and start writing. They were free to use spellchecker, online dictionaries and other online resources as long as they cited their sources. I know this is possible with Google Footnote, but I haven’t explored it myself yet.

During the test students had problems or questions and they addressed me through the Chat app. This worked seamlessly. Of course, students can also chat with classmates and this can be distracting, but even though it did occur it did not seem to distract, but rather serve as another person to ask.

Taking questions during the test.

Taking questions during the test.

The texts they produced were two to three pages long and the benefits are they all are conform, they are available online (by invitation) and students don’t loose their work.

In terms of improvement I will look definitely continue using Google Docs for creative writing workshops, and even bring in the collaborative element which is the greatest asset of Google Docs.

Lot of ideas to be found over at Ted Barrett’s blog, especially this entry.