9 Ways to Improve Student Writing Skills with Google Docs
As a teacher, it can be simultaneously difficult and necessary to keep updated on the latest technology available that allows students to understand and utilize their capabilities to its maximum potential. In this context, various digital tools are constantly on the rise for supporting classroom activities – here, we specify the advantages associated with using Google Docs to improve student writing skills. Along with access to built-in features that are many and incredible, G Suite and Google Docs also offer third-party extensions and other add-ons to provide an all-rounded experience.
Say goodbye to typing skills
Gone is the perception that digital skills predominantly begin with having good typing skills. Introducing the Voice-Typing feature of Google Docs, there is no worry about bringing forward the content in mind to the tips of your fingers – you can simply start speaking and not worry about lack of speed, poor punctuation or any other stumbling blocks. You don’t have to spend any more time staring at the blank page and force your best version out – you can present all your ideas and then take the time to take them through a selection process and deem which one is worthy of continuation. The tool is also a God-send for students with learning disabilities.
No worries about the intricate details
Once upon a time, typing skills depended on various factors such as proper punctuation, grammar skills and the ability to predict most spellings correctly. Now, Google Docs will cover this part concerning the intricacies of writing and leave you to focus on the core of the writing and presenting your ideas. There are tools for spelling checks and grammar tools which provide suggestions consistently so that you can choose the best option that goes with the intended meaning. The toolbar also has a ‘check it’ feature which checks for a lot more such as phonetic spellings, homophones, etc.
Utilize the ‘version history’ feature
This feature allows you to track which person did what and at what time. This history is automatically updated every seconds and the supervisor can always monitor this to ensure students are on the right track. It provides details on the kind of changes made in the evolution of the document and what the student contributed, with a different color for each user and their contribution, accompanied by a time-stamp. The instructor can witness the writing process in action, especially in collaborative works. A helpful feature is that you can restore older versions if the document gets deleted.
Erase the ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ feeling
Ever been at the edge of finding the precise work to suit that sentence but failing to word it out anyway? This is where you’ll bless the existence of the word prediction tool called ‘Read&Write’ for Google Chrome. When one starts typing after switching on the tool, the suggested words come immediately for continuing the sentence and are a great help, especially for struggling writers and students.
Healthy feedback process
Feedback is a powerful tool – constructive criticism from one’s instructors and peers can have a well-intended effect on research papers and articles of perspective. Moves at student collaboration is the prime examples of peers helping each other to reach their best. For effective criticism, students can follow the strategy of observing something they like in the content, asking questions based on the content and then giving a positive suggestion. For this strategy to work, students should get used to viewing works critically and be given examples of this strategy functioning. Teachers and instructors can always assign the responsibility of both tasks and adding comments on their peers’ works for students. Use the voice-typing feature to be a little fancy and add voice comments – it shows as a comment bubble with a play button.
Editing Google Docs
Students should also have adequate experience editing Google Docs – make sure that this option is always made available, apart from suggestions and viewing the document. These options are available under the umbrella option of ‘Share’. Editing rights is naturally given to the creator of the document and has to be passed on by the creator to others if they wish to edit as well. The feature of suggesting is a little more specific where collaborators on a single document can suggest changes, edits and revisions to the existing document – these changes are highlighted in green and appears as a comment to the right for the perusal of the creator, who can then accept or reject these.
No more vocabulary searches
With the built-in dictionary, there is no more searching around for terms (on Google itself, because it is a preferred search engine for many). There are provisions for looking up words, their meanings, their fit into sections of the content, etc.
For the researchers
We have all heard of citations and the pain they cause to students engaging in research. Google Docs works to ease this pain a little by incorporating a built-in citation feature that works wonders. Gone are the days where you have to worry about the ideal format and the various bits of information that make up on proper citation. The ‘Explore’ tool offers this feature. It also assists in getting students from younger grades to be accountable for their research, which will help them avoid the headache when it will definitely come up later. The search query will give you the option of typing in the query and finding the required citation at the bottom of the document.
Welcome to WriQ
This is the true innovation for teachers who can now welcome the paperless age and the traditional mannerisms of assessing and correction with the trademark red pen. Google Chrome provides a free extension named ‘WriQ’ that gives grading a more objective viewpoint, is both accurate and consistent. It allows the ones graded to track their progress clearly as the tool instantly assesses the document according to the given criteria, removing all possibilities of bias, the cumbersome manual task of correction and other issues.