Introducing Google Docs through Improv

Living in the "second city", I'm a big fan of the Improv scene and local comedy clubs that are close by.  This morning and earlier this summer, I've been giving short presentations to our incoming 9th graders on using our electronic gradebook system along with Google Apps.  After introducing students to their mail account, I gave a brief talk on Google Docs.  Rather than making students sit through a presentation, however, I tried to get them as active and immersed in the activity as possible, even if it's something as simple as sending an email to their teacher, though this proves to be very useful, as the teacher can then create a quick group contact list.

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

Once students have practiced creating and then sharing a new document, I put their new found skills to the test.  Using a classic Improv game coupled with the collaborative features of Google Docs, I had students work in groups to create a short story while testing to see whether they had mastered the skill of sharing a document.  We called it the Google Docs Relay Race, and the activity showcased a lot of the cool features of the platform.  Students were most excited with live text editing (I played this off as "magic" when another instructor was editing a Doc that I created), and I was pleased to see very few complications (an occasional refresh was needed).  I can see continued usage of Google Docs with Improv games to build storytelling, writing skills, as well as serve as a nice icebreaker or introduction to collaborating on a paper or presentation.
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Aleks said…
Very cool! Do you have any plans to do trainings outside of ETHS?
chanatown said…
I'm about to start the Google Certified Trainer program (see earlier post). Once completed, I'd be interested in offering customizable professional development workshops to interested schools/organizations, as long as it did not conflict with my current job responsibilities. Thanks for the comment!

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