One of the most interesting articles I’ve come across since starting COETAIL is Nikhil Goyal’s piece on why learning should be messy. As a third grade teacher whose room is often in a state of disarray at the end of the day, this idea is reassuring. However, it also applies to the digital realm.
A few nights ago, after giving my class an assignment to collaborate together with google docs, I came home late to see this edmodo message in my inbox:
It was the first time to have the whole class collaborate on one document, and somebody accidently erased half the class’s work (more on how to fix this later). It was digitally messy. And that’s okay. As teachers try new things, experiment, and step outside their comfort zones, there are bound to be problems. Messiness. We should embrace it and keep moving forward.
When digital messiness happens, however, there are no helpful students or cleaning staff to tidy up, so that role may fall on you. So it’s time for today’s google drive tip. First, teach your students how to “undo.” There are three ways to do this. The easiest way is to press “⌘ Z.” You can also select Edit –> Undo. And finally, there is an “undo” button (curving arrow to the left, beside the “print” button).
That only works if the students realize they’ve made a mistake right away, however. Google documents has another function where you can clean up a document that has been made “messy.” Go to File –> See Revision History. You can see all changes that have been made and revert to older versions of the document. This is also a handy tool to see how students have been editing, revising, and digitally collaborating.
So as our students move forward with technology, don’t fear the messiness, embrace it.