Monday, April 19, 2010

Google Docs & Apps: Putting the Pedagogical Pieces Together

As part of my action plan associated with becoming a Google Certified Teacher, I decided to focus on training other educators about integrating these powerful web 2.0 applications into their instruction. Outside of my role as Principal of New Milford High School, I am the Director of Program Development for Project ABLE International. This is an organization committed to assisting teachers develop authentic-based learning environments in order to provide students with essential 21st Century problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Currently teachers from four different school districts in northern NJ are part of the Project ABLE consortium and have been receiving intense, hands-on training during the course of the 2009-2010 school year. This training has focused on the philosophy, development, and implementation of authentic-based learning activities that are meaningful and relevant to the learner.

As a culminating activity after months of training we decided to illustrate how easily Google Docs and Apps could be integrated into ABLE's in order to foster collaboration and interactivity between the participants. I worked on and develivered the presentation with Keith Devereaux, a science teacher at NMHS who has embraced the use of Google Docs and Apps in my school. We also included Dr. Brian Chinni, Founder and CEO of the Madison Institute that developed Project ABLE. In our development of the presentation we worked collaboratively over the course of a few weeks using the very tools that we would be providing training on. While Keith and I had some face to face contact time, all of Brian's pieces were submitted using Google Docs and Sites. The final result was the creation of a Google Site that included a simple agenda, presentation, and an authentic jigsaw activity where the participants have to create a informative presentation to their home districts using Google Doc and Apps.

Overall we were very satisfied by our presentation and feel that we met all of the objectives that we set. After reflecting we discovered many ways in which to improve the delivery of the conent and have already begun to make adjustments that will make the presentation even more powerful. One thing is certain, all of the educators present experienced the limitless potential that comes with these tools once they investigated each piece and then put them all together. Please take time to visit the Google Site (Project ABLE and Docs) we created and provide us with some feedback!


  1. very cool, I like the project. I'm a big fan of google, although not certified, and I think any group could utilize the tools required to create the presentation and learn to navigate google apps quite well. great project, will the projects be posted when completed?

  2. Because Microsoft Word (and products) are so prevalent in our schools, I never really looked at/considered Google Docs other than if I was going to need it if I was on a cloud computer.

    However, after a conference w/ Alan November, and taking a look at your site and how you used Google Docs... I decided to use Google Docs in a collaborative experiment by sending out a link that teachers could use to access a document. It worked, they participated...and so I'm looking forward to incorporating this in various ways.

    I would like to see/learn about 1. Schools that "eased" into using Google Docs and products. 2. Ways that others are using Google Docs in their schools.

    Thanks for the post