How To Get Your Students Collaborating In Google Classroom

Google was designed for students to collaborate. Amazing learning takes place when students are teaching each other what they know, making connections, creating meaning together, and building peer relationships. If you haven’t had your students give each other feedback or work in the same Slides presentation yet, don’t spend another minute missing out! Here are a couple of really easy ways to get started.

1. Have Students Give Each Other Feedback

In this example, students worked in the same presentation to share their New Year’s Resolutions. I created one slide design and duplicated the slide 24 times. After each of my students completed their slide, I had their classmates give feedback to each other. Students can use the comment button (in the toolbar) right inside Slides to do this. 

Types of feedback students can give:

  • Ask a question
  • Give a compliment
  • Give more information about the topic
  • Make personal connections

Students can also reply to the person that gave them feedback, just by clicking on the feedback box. Students LOVE this.

When students have an authentic audience, the activity is so much more meaningful. Student engagement and the quality of work increases when they know there is a purpose for their work and others will be viewing it.

You can create collaborative activities for any subject. In the examples above, students worked on a slide individually. Next, we’ll talk about how you can also assign multiple students to the same slide.

2. Have Students Work In Small Groups in Google Apps To Create Meaning

After you assign a collaborative activity in Google Classroom (instructions below), you can then partner students up and tell them which slides they’ll be working on.

In the above example, students worked with a partner to complete a Venn diagram,  outlining the differences and similarities between long ago and today. Both students were able to insert text and images from their own computers, at the exact same time.

If you want to see FULL STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, try this. Students love being able to see their partner’s work appear on their screen. And, both students are accountable and don’t have to take turns contributing.

How Exactly Do My Students Access The Same Activity?

Getting your students in the same presentation is quick and easy! Once you’ve created the activity for your students, go to Google Classroom to assign it. When you’re filling in the assignment details (below), click “Students can edit file” in the middle of the three options. All of your students will be working in one activity.

If you want to just assign an activity to just a few people, make sure to watch my video here

Can My Students Start Their Own Collaborative Activity Without My Help?

Yes! One of my favorite things to do is give my students choices when they’re expected to show what they’ve learned during social studies, science, math, or any subject. My students love choosing to create digital posters in Google Slides. They can start a presentation on their own and quickly invite their friends to join in using the Share button.

One of the best features is that I’m able to monitor their progress and see exactly which group members contributed what. I teach you step-by-step how to do this in my video How Students Can Start Their Own Activity And Stay Accountable which is in Module 4 of my Google Course For Teachers.  

Ready To Create Your Own Student Activities?

If you want to learn more about creating your own digital resources in Google, check out my step-by-step video course where I walk you through everything you need to know to create activities for your students in Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Docs, and Google Forms. We’ll also get your Google Classroom set up so you can give your students access to the activities and grade them afterwards.