Wednesday / July 24

Using Google Drive for Student Collaboration in Face-to-Face and Online Courses

View the original post on Shared Practice in Teaching and Teacher Education

I use Google Drive daily for creating, editing, organizing, and sharing documents for both personal and professional uses. Google Drive is a tremendous resource for me as an educator, and I use it often for lesson planning, brainstorming, and other teacher-centered activities. I find the most potential in Google Drive, however, in the ways I use it with students.

In both face-to-face and online classes, I use Google Drive for collaboration among students and with others outside the four walls of the classroom. Google docs and spreadsheets work beautifully with many common interactive learning experiences, such as Think-Pair-Share and peer feedback. In face-to-face courses, Google Drive can serve as a resource for documenting the talk and processes that occur as students collaborate. As an online instructor, I’ve found that Google Drive allows me to easily incorporate interactive and collaborative learning experiences with students who are separated by distance and time. For instance, I designed the spreadsheet below for an activity that tasked students with exploring new-to-them web tools, sharing their learning with their peers, and providing feedback on their classmates’ thoughts. This interaction could take place synchronously (at the same time) or asynchronously (not at the same time) and could happen via any device.

The other examples included below represent uses of Google docs for collaboration that work in face-to-face, online synchronous, and online asynchronous settings.




Peer Feedback


Collaborative Brainstorming


Collaborative Note-taking


Since Docs and Sheets can be shared locally or globally, they also provide a way to bring outside experts and other students into those collaborative learning experiences. As students in my technology course explored trending ed tech topics, they were asked to reach out to other educators via Twitter, Google+, and other networks. The Google spreadsheet below allowed my students to record their own learning and also allowed other educators to add their thoughts, experiences, and resources.


There are countless possibilities for structuring Google docs and spreadsheets for collaboration in face-to-face and online courses. I would love to hear (and steal) your ideas, so please share by leaving a comment. Thanks!

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Dr. Jayme Linton is Assistant Professor of Education at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina. Jayme developed and coordinates Lenoir-Rhyne’s graduate program in online teaching and instructional design. She received her Ph.D. in teacher education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2014. Jayme received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Western Carolina University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Appalachian State University. Previously, she held positions as Instructional Technology Facilitator, Staff Development Coordinator, Instructional Coach, and elementary teacher. She was recognized by the National School Board Association as one of the “20 to Watch” for 2012-13 and was selected for ISTE’s Making IT Happen Award by NCTIES in 2013. Dr. Linton is co-founder of #NCed, a bi-weekly Twitter chat for North Carolina educators, and #edteach, a bi-weekly Twitter chat for pre-service teachers. Her research and professional learning focus on preparation and support for online instructors, online and blended learning communities for educators, blended learning in K-12, personal learning networks for pre-service teachers, and professional learning for technology integration. Jayme is married with two beautiful children, ages eight and four.

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