In my opinion, it’s important to use in the classroom as they are nowadays very common collaborative tools in most workplaces.
I use Google Drive to distribute extra readings, and I create my lecture slides on Google Slides so I can easily share them via link with the students for exam reviews (see “Scavenger Hunt”).
A great activity is to have students collaborate in co-authoring an academic essay. The challenges are:
- The team cannot be too large; 5-6 students would be optimal.
- The instructions need to be clear. My experience is, for best results, there needs to be a basic outline and each student needs to contribute to each section of the paper.
- Someone needs to be the editor for the final product for fact- and reference-checking, and formatting. Sometimes you can assign two groups: after the contribution period, 3 students have 3 days to go through the content; the other 3 will then finalize formatting referencing, titles, and so on.
The beauty of this activity is that students get to experience the power of crowdsourcing. They realize the creativity and accumulated knowledge of a team. My students are always surprised how rich and interesting the final text is.
Here is an example of an essay that has not yet been edited just to show the “midway” of the process.