I was so excited to use Google Docs about five years ago for the first time. I discovered it on one of the tech in education blogs I love so much and immediately fell in love. “This will be so cool in my English classes!” I thought, forgetting that dubbing something “so cool” is sure to mean that it will immediately be an epic failure.
What I didn’t figure was that our broadband internet at my large urban high school was, at that time, massively under strength for anything more than Googling period. Getting five teenagers typing on the same document through that pinhole of an internet connection was a task that I had not figured on giving me a massive headache. The “this isn’t working” — “I can’t get on” — “it won’t connect” was the worst cacophony I had heard all year.
Here’s what was interesting: those who *were* able to get on were exciting the rest of the room so much that the “misfire” was generating more noise and frustration than normal. I can’t really call that a “misfire” then can I? Anything that excites young minds is not a misfire, but a learning opportunity. And that is what we have to consider each and every misfire to be. The story gets happier. I tried again the next semester, with fewer kids on each document and half the class at a time. It went beautifully and I’ve never looked back — students love Google docs every year and it has raised accountability in group work because I can see what edits each user has done.
I am excited about this opportunity to reconnect with “Assignments Matter” and I hope to come away with a wealth of ideas to give to my teachers in my high school.