I can’t believe how far my students have come in terms of their technological abilities. We started the year with many students having difficulty learning to log into their accounts, navigating the Google platform, and typing quickly and easily. The first weeks took what felt like the entire writing block to log in and type out a few sentences. We have reached the point where login information is memorized and within a minute students are in our Google Classroom and working on various writing assignments, practicing math, and accessing multimedia resources. Everything has been going smoothly, so of course, I started to get cocky…
My third graders are currently working on a biography project where they are researching, writing about, and then presenting information about a figure from the American Revolution. The classroom teacher, ESL teacher and I found a great graphic organizer that students used to take notes on their famous American, and we wanted them to be able to type into it. Of course it was a PDF, making that difficult, so I had what seemed like a genius idea… “Let’s create a google form, have the kids fill it out with their information, and then I can mail merge the data into text boxes on a Word document, and it will look like they typed into the organizer.” Then came the always famous last words “It should be super quick and easy”.
The students started typing, and then writing time was unexpectedly cut short for a special rehearsal. The entire class logged off, as they always do, except with a Google Form, your work needs to be completed and submitted in one sitting. ALL OF THEIR WORK WAS GONE!
That afternoon we learned a very important lesson about using technology: It doesn’t always do what you want it to do, and sometimes you have to start again.
To be honest, the class didn’t even seem to be upset that they had to start entering their information into the Google Form again. They were also faster typing the second time around, hopefully because they had retained the information they were typing with additional reading and practice of it. Everyone was very careful to hit submit, and they were very excited to watch me mail merge their information and watch it auto-populate into their graphic organizer. Once the information was typed in again, it really was quick and easy!