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Using Google Docs
Collaborating with Google Docs is one of the most successful techniques that I have used in my classroom to increase engagement and motivation. After completing a lab, my students will write the final lab report by sharing the workload. They don't need to be in the same room because they can instant message while working. They can make the report professional looking with pictures of their lab results, tables, graphs and organized formatting. Best of all - it's free! The teacher must have Google Drive installed and students must have Google accounts. My students have email through the school so they sign up through that account.
1. Create a new document and give it a title. I just use the period and group number of the students who will be editing it.
2. Share with the students you wish to have editor privileges by selecting their email accounts.
3. Students receive the invitation, sign in and voila! Now they can write their report.
Brainstorming on Wallwishers
This is a great website for starting a new unit. I use it to set up a KWL chart. I set up the page and give the link to my students. They go to the site and fill out post-it notes about what they know and want to know about the new topic. I require each student to submit 3 notes. Then I go to the page, organize the notes and I have a record of their background knowledge and what they are interested. I can access that from anywhere with internet access and can even review the final product with my students. Here is a sample:
Creating Video Lessons
Another technique I use to break up the monotony of homework from the book and capture my students' attention is the use of video lessons. I either create a screencast or search for a video already created on the topic I want my students to learn. I embed that video on a page on my website and create a Google form to record their responses to the video which I also embed on my website. They go to the webpage after school, watch the video, answer the questions I set up and submit. The answers are recorded on a spreadsheet for me to review. Here is a sample:
Here is a set of screencasts to walk you through the process.