For the third part in my reflection on using Googlesites for doing the NBA Project online I will sum up and reflect a little.
The students are finishing up their projects. I have added a page to our template site (the one which I discussed in the first blog on this topic) where I have collected links to all of the class’ projects. This will enable me quick and easy access to all of the projects. It will also enable the examiner who tests them in two year’s time to have all of the class’ projects at her or his fingertips.
And what did the students feel about doing an online project?
Here are some excerpts (grammar mistakes and all) with their opinions:
“I think working with Googledocs it's better than working in files because the pages can be lost and in googledocs it will be hard to lose them, the project in googledocs will be filed in design more beautiful than just printed pages and You have in the internet more sources of information.”
“I think that working in googledocs is a bad idea because of a few reasons:
a. playing in the computer instead of working is tempting.
b. making us writing an important work in a program is a bad idea since we have no expirience in that. next time, make us do the work in hand... “
“ I enjoyed working with Google docs tho in was hard to use the Google sites.”
“First of all i think that working on the computer is boring and very difficult but the project helped me to improve my English and to learned on new religion the Rastafari and about Bob Marley.”
“I have a mixed opinion about working with Googledocs and Googlesite. I generally don't like working with computers, and working with Googletools made it even harder for me. However, I think that having all my project online on a Googlesite can be very useful, and I think that my site can help me in my bagrut.”
“I think that working with "Google Doc" and having the all project on "Google Site" has advantage and disadvantage. The advantage is that the project can be saved long time.
The disadvantage is that the project can disappear or be deleted. But I think doing this project in "Google Doc" and in "Google Site" is better than doing it by writing and then print.”
“In the one side, I think that the works with googledocs and on an online tab its good, we learn how to use these tools and we express our information about working with computer, but in the other side I think that this work can be exhausting sometimes. When the internet does not work well and the computer stock.”
“I likes to work with the google docs and to build this online tab because it gaves me more skills to the future and I learn how to present things different."
There are some kids who liked it; others who hated it. The spread does not disturb me too much. I would have preferred it if more students had found embarking on a project which has them building an online presence an exciting endeavor (like I do J ) however, I am not disheartened by their remarks – not even the ones who hated it. I’ll tell you why: I feel that, in addition to my being an English teacher (English as a foreign language, please remember) I see myself as an educator, a role which sometimes calls for cruel and inhuman punishment of the type that will boot your students right out of that cushy comfort zone in which we all prefer to cuddle up in most of the time. To consider the option that our students will finish their high school educations without being somewhat experienced in basic Microsoft programs and collaborative Web 2 tools, is a possibility which I find absolutely abhorrent.
These kids will be going out into environments (the army and then into the workforce) that are becoming ever more digital with every day that passes. We teachers often take it for granted that these kids are what are defined as “Digital Natives”, but they aren’t all. (In fact, MANY of them are not! Note how many negative comments I got in the feedback, as a result of challenging them to learn a tool to build a website?!) We owe them an education that equips them for real life to the greatest extent possible.
Therefore, it is my sincere belief that in the long run, my students will benefit from learning how to write a research project and post it online, by populating a website with basic tools and writing collaboratively with peers and their teacher. Nobody learned anything while locked inside their comfort zone.
I fervently advocate finding ways to get our students working digitally. Do whatever it takes.
So now that you have read about my excursions into the land of virtual projects, AND read my students’ opinions, what do YOU think? Would YOU consider going digital with your class’ projects? Would you use Googlesites or another platform? Please share your thoughts here!