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Thing #7 – Collaboration Tools

April 14, 2012

Collaboration is such a key part of being a school librarian.  Collaborating with both faculty (in lesson planning and implementation) and students (resources, book reviews) is one of my favorite parts of the job.  Having just finished my library degree in December 2010, I was a big fan of Google Docs for group projects.  Because my program was exclusively online, this allowed me to work with classmates who were scattered not only around the country, but in one case around the globe (one classmate was in Singapore!).  I’ve carried that enthusiasm for Google Docs with me into my school, and I’m pleased with how well it’s gone. 

Although students were somewhat resistant when we first had them sign up for accounts, they’ve really bought into the concept.  They like that they can share projects amongst themselves and with their teachers.  I even had one class encourage a teacher to sign up for a Google account so they could share their projects with him.  Teachers appreciate the fact that they can monitor progress, make comments, and even grade them online.  And despite our IT department grumbling about Google Docs at first, he’s also embraced the concept and we’re hoping to roll out Google Apps for Ed next year!

The next goal for me is to get kids working on a wiki.  It seems to take the Google Doc concept one step further, and allows for better organization and presentation of the collaborative work.  I have one more project with the 8th grade social studies/ELA group, and I’m thinking maybe we’ll put the final products on a wiki.

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