Trying Something New

This was a crazy day!  It all started in our computer lab where I met my friend, Laura, who is a third grade teacher, and her class.  Picture forty-eight second and third graders crammed into a computer lab that only has 32 computers.  Laura and I had attended our first EdCamp last Saturday.  We attended three really exciting sessions with other teachers in our district.  One of the sessions we went to was on how to use Google Docs with our students.  We were eager to try it this morning.  I was scheduled for the lab this morning from 8:30-9:00.  Laura was scheduled to go at 9:00-9:30.  We thought it would be great to go together to the lab and we would get a full hour.  We wanted to see if our students could get into Google Docs and create a document.

At our session, we learned how to create a folder and share the link for that folder with students so they could access it from any computer or device.  Laura placed her link on her secure classroom website.  I placed it on my learning management system called Learning Point.  We decided that the third graders would try first.  The second graders would stand behind them and observe.  Then we would switch.  That’s when Laura realized that her website needed usernames and passwords and only a few of the students knew their secure login.  We tried to get the students into the Google Docs folder she created by typing the direct link.  That also did not work.  It was very frustrating.  Keep in mind, we do not have a computer resource aide or teacher in the lab.  We have to direct everything.

By this time it was 9:00, so I asked Laura if I could try.  We asked her students not to log-off the computers.  My students opened up Learning Point and logged in using their usernames and passwords.  They clicked on my Google Docs link and were taken to my folder.  This time, I wanted the students to upload a document we had been working on in Microsoft Word.  When we went to upload, we realized that the document folder that opened up belonged to the third grader who had initially logged in to that computer.  Ugh.  That meant my students had to log off the computer and log in as themselves.  Then, we had to go through the whole process of uploading again.  Only this time, when the students clicked on their document to upload, nothing happened.  It was frustrating.  One of my students tried to upload a photo to the file and that worked.  When he tried to upload his document after that, he was able to do it.  So, I asked all the students to go through that same procedure.  Everyone was able to do it, and everyone uploaded their document.  I am sure someone out there will tell me there is an easier way.  Maybe someone will tell me why we couldn’t upload our documents in the first place.  Was there a button I was supposed to click on my end?  I would really like to know how I could make this easier and stream line the whole process.

How could something so easy be so difficult.  My friend, Laura, said this was why teachers would not want to do this.  It’s too hard.  It’s not easy.  However, I think it will be easier now.  My students know how to access.  They know how to upload.  I thought this whole activity was a failure, but now I am rethinking that.  It’s not a failure because everyone was able to download their document.  It took us a little while, but we got it.  The next time we need to access Google Docs, it will be a piece of cake.  In fact, we are going to try tomorrow.  I have an opportunity to go into the lab.  Wish us luck!  🙂