March 18, 2014

Google Apps and Digital Citizenship

Today’s post is the second installment in the series of posts sharing examples and strategies from teachers with regard to Digital Citizenship in their classrooms.

Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) to teach about netiquette and positive digital footprint with engaging in peer feedback

Keeler School’s Learning Commons Learning Leader and Teacher, Mike McKenzie, shared many ways in which they are teaching DC principles in context. They are using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in many of their core classes as a means to engage in regular formative assessment practices. Though there is some “front loading” of DC information and skills, more often they tend to use “just in time” learning or “teachable moments” as they present themselves in order to teach students about topics like netiquette and positive digital footprint. 

In one example, Mike spoke about a grade 4 class comprised of diverse learners using Google Docs to provide formative feedback to their peers during project work as part of the polishing process. This allowed for a variety of student voice as well as self-reflection.

In another example, students used Google Forms to solicit peer feedback on dress rehearsal performances in order to polish their final presentations.

After each performance, the class spent a few minutes talking about how the group performed based on the criteria set out in the rubric.  Then one scribe for the group used the Google form to enter the feedback.  Results of the form were instantly visible and students began dissecting this new information.

The way the feedback was gathered is particularly important in this instance because of the mixed abilities of the students in this class. The conversation among the groups’ participants as they decide what feedback to give enables all voices to be heard and ensures that the task is accessible to all.

Each performing group then received 6 sets of written feedback about how to improve their work.  Then they were given time to go over the feedback and made modifications based on feedback.

“One DC challenge we encountered in doing this was one of access.  Students from PLP and L&L had difficulty logging in to first the laptop and then again into google apps. It made it too complicated and frustrating. The process could be made much less complicated by just having a link to the document for students to contribute their comments. However, there was concern that if we provided just the link then student comments would be added anonymously and that could be problematic, particularly if the comment ended up being inappropriate or problematic in some way.

In the end we decided that it was more important to provide students with the link to make commenting easier than to ensure we had names attached.  In fact, the anonymity provided for better learning opportunities as the comment was not directly connectable to individual students, so we could use individual comments as learning opportunities without singling out an individual by name and embarrassing them, but we could still get the point across as we talk about what is appropriate and valuable in giving feedback.” Mike Mackenzie

Mike works with teachers and students across the school as the Technology and Learning Commons Learning Leader. This provides him with opportunities to support teachers across the grades in learning to use digital resources and tools to support teaching and learning in ways that are meaningful and effective. He has dozens of examples on Keeler School’s Learning Commons page and will be contributing many of them to CORE in the coming weeks.

For more information about Digital Citizenship visit and search for DC Plan. You will find the DC Planning Template, the extensive collection of supporting resources for DC education and the Ed Talks for DC, Web 2.0 and Copyright. 

Also launching today is the third video in the DC Ed Talks mini-series, Digital Citizenship and Professional Responsibilities.

Stay tuned for more posts where we share what teachers are doing with regard to DC. 

Sue Bell
Education Specialist
Innovation & Learning Technology 

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