Google Drive in ESL Teaching

From what I have read, heard and researched, Google Drive is a very interesting tool for an ESL classroom. Before the introductory class on the subject, I admit to not really knowing what it was and how to use the tool. After experiencing it first hand, and recognizing the amount of fun we were having by just playing around with it, I realize that this is not the last I’ve heard of this too.

As a future teacher, it is important for me to learn about all the different tools out there. But all of that is useless if I don’t know what to do with them once I’m creating my own lesson plans. This slideshow really introduced me to basic, fun and creative ways to integrate the tool into my classes. After reading through all 37 suggestions, I retained a couple for my own use. With students, I would absolutely take advantage of Google Docs, and have students collaborate on a document or presentation. Allowing them to all work together synchronously is a great way to get them to be motivated. Students prefer being interactive, and allowing them to collaborate on one document is very interesting. For example, perhaps I would have my students write a story. This not only practices their writing skills, but their comprehension. Students can sit at their own computer, and write a story and everyone else will see what each student writes as they write it.

On this blog, a teacher mentions how she used this tool in her classes. She mostly mentioned things I had already read about, but there was one thing she did that caught my attention. Since students can write on the documents once they have access, they can work on assignments anywhere. Teachers can comment and give feedback while work is being done, which allows students to review what they’ve done and correct their mistakes. This teacher did this with a group of students, however, the continuous interaction through the document resulted in a type of tutoring session. The teacher used the opportunity to make sure they learned something from it. I personally think this is awesome. Why not teach them something at the same time? I would definitely try to incorporate as much learning as possible when using this tool. Similar to this idea, this site talks about using Google Docs as a writing workshop. For example, students can write things and practice their writing while being corrected and having someone interact with them at the same time. They could have a simple subject, and either edit amongst themselves.

Another use I found interesting and that I would definitely use, was for reading. On this website, the author indicated with images in a sort of presentaton how she uses the tool to have students read and annotate at the same time. She allows allows discussions to happen while the students are reading, so if one student has a question then all the other classmates can answer. Students can then go on to answer questions to evaluate comprehension.

No handouts! That is the one common thing every single source I visited mentioned. It seems much easier for a teacher to carefully see how students are working and thinking by using this tool. Students get to see each other’s work and they get to interact in one way or another. I would definitely use this tool along with all the different ideas I read about. It seems so much more pleasurable for students, and for me, the teacher.

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