Using Google Documents to work collaboratively

I’ve used Google Documents in class before but the need had never arisen for pupils to write on the same document at the same time. With collaborative working being an important skill in science, I decided to get my year 7 class to work collaboratively on the same document. Their task was to write a press release detailing their lab test results for their CSI topic. With all the pupils having SEN (we are a special school) , the amount of text was going to be small which makes the process a little quicker.

I created the document with a table to be used as a writing frame or scaffold for the pupils, giving them the basic structure to complete. I asked the pupils to complete a different section of the press release and colour coded the boxes so they knew which section was theirs.  I shared the document with the pupils and invited them to complete their section.

Pupils were fascinated by seeing the text of their classmates appearing as they entered their own.  The flicker you see as the page updates didn’t seem to bother any of them, in fact they didn’t notice it.  Pupils entered their text and we reviewed the completed document.

Not only was this approach far more productive than writing their own reports, pupils had to communicate with each other and tie their contributions together.  This wouldn’t have happened working individually.


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.