Since the last post, the children have been busy trying things out using the chromebooks, and I, along with my fellow colleague, have been getting caught up in it all too.
We both spent time last week showing the children basic features such as Presentation and Document, demonstrating how we could edit work and share it with others. The children caught on to this quickly, and as I mentioned previously, the children were completely taken with it and carried out optional homework over the weekend. The children were each given an Olympic sport to briefly research, and they had to decorate their slide with a heading, caption, picture and some information. All simple stuff, but I was interested to see a) whether their interest levels held up over a bank holiday weekend, and b) whether all of the children could access the editing features of Google Docs (I have had issues on an older model laptop).
As you can see below, the children had a real go at the task, and were able to edit their slides using various features similar to those you’d find on any Microsoft programme. I think it shows that sometimes children just need to be able to explore without having a teacher nagging over their shoulder. That said, I did log in myself and have a little peek, and saw children repeatedly logging back in to edit and improve their slide, as well as one conversation that was logged via the comments feature illustrating how well the children were collaborating.
Today, I thought I’d try something new with the class. As this is a learning curve for all involved, most things will be new, at least for the first few weeks. I have, however, learned that new things should perhaps not be showcased during an observation. Ah well.
We are about to share-write a story based on Derek Redmond’s story from the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, so the plan was to share a video and add comments underneath based on the children’s responses. Unfortunately, I had unwittingly turned off the comments feature as I had allowed the children to view the website but not edit it. As well as this, the video didn’t play for anyone other than the owner. If anyone has any tips regarding this, please help – I have tried giving ownership to everyone it is shared with but it makes no difference. No matter; we watched the video as a whole class as we usually would have done and discussed it with talk-partners.
A little later, once the children had story-mapped Redmond’s story, we moved onto boxing up. Cue mayhem. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but going in blind (and arguably stupid), I had asked the children to open one document and add their ideas into assigned boxes. Sixteen multi-coloured flashing cursors later, I had realised my mistake. Children were shouting across the classroom to one another, demanding to know why they had inserted the word ‘hope’ in the middle of their typing, why so-and-so had deleted something else and getting increasingly confused as the page got larger in front of their eyes. We discussed how to remedy this, and eventually it worked out ok, but really we should have moved into groups with one typist per box, rather than the free-for-all that ensued.
The children didn’t mind really of course, and my paranoia was probably heightened due to the observers in the room, so I was still deem it a successful lesson. I should mention that one of the people observing was my colleague who is working on the Chromebooks with me – needless to say, she won’t be asking a whole class to add to one document any time soon.