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Monday, 2 December 2013

Google Drive and Cover Lessons

As always with this time of year, there have been a number of staff stepping in to lessons that they wouldn't normally teach. This 'covering' of sessions can sometimes be 'tricky' on both the part of the teacher who is absent and the teacher taking the session. Increasingly though, at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy, Google Drive is being used to support learning during these sessions.

As an example, see the below Geography lesson shared with me to deliver -


As the use of Google Drive to support cover lessons becomes more common, I have three top tips to help ensure success.

- Share Settings - When setting up files to be used during a cover lesson, always ensure you share it with all staff. The best way to do this is to put the files in the 'Staff Masterdrive', this will allow every member of staff access without having the annoying 'shared with you' email from Google.

When it comes to sharing with students, again the 'Student Masterdrive' is probably the best way to go. This file on Google Drive will allow students view access but not edit rights, so if you need this encourage them to make their own copy of the document.

However you choose to share your files, be sure to make it clear in the plan you leave how to access these files which will support learning in the lesson.

- Collaboration - When leaving a cover lesson on Google Drive it can be easy to think of independent tasks which will keep a class submissive in their approach to learning. Don't be afraid to engage in collaborative tasks though and leave tasks such as discuss with your partner, find someone else in class that shares your views, etc, etc.

Working collaboratively on a single document or presentation through Google Drive can also really enhance learning. Working in this way, with one class, can also mean you can keep an eye on what they are all doing, even if you are not in the same room.

Finally, for collaboration, encourage through your plan for colleagues to get the students working not just 1:1 on devices. Sometimes the best discussion on learning comes from talking things through with a peer. For this reason alone, 1:2 and 1:3 use of devices can sometimes be much more powerful for learning.

- Feedback - Finally, feedback is really important. If you have missed a lesson for any reason, don't wait until next lesson to see how students got on. We all now have great tools at our disposal to continue learning outside the classroom so why not put them to good use to gain feedback and help support future learning opportunities. This could be done through many means, ask throught Twitter, send an email or set up a shared documents for all students to share their thoughts.