Monday, December 10, 2012

Well, That Didn't Go Smoothly

We started the Google Apps part of our grade two Inuit culture research project today and it was anything but smooth. However, it was not a disaster - which I attribute to a few things I think are worthwhile pointing out:

  1. My class followed an established routine and expectation during computer time (and really, any class time). 
  2. I had a solid understanding of how Google Apps work and how they are shared that allowed me to problem solve.
  3. I had booked an hour block of time with the net books, which gave me the breathing room to problem solve.
  4. I had an exemplar ready to go.

So What Happened?

I had created a Google presentation template I wanted my students to use. I had set the share settings to Public on the web - Anyone on the Internet can find and edit. Then I had created a homework assignment in SchoolZone and I attached the Google presentation to that homework post.

The students clicked on the link. The goal was for them to make a copy. However it did not give them that option (it was grayed out). 

So What Did I Do?

  1. I checked the original document and its share settings. It was correct but in the meantime I noticed my students' names were under Who has access. 
  2. I also noticed it said 50 people were viewing the document and that many of them were "anonymous". That was unusual.
  3. I had my students close the tab with the presentation.
  4. I directed them to their Google Drive. My goal was to make sure that Google/Share was having them logged in correctly. 
  5. Then, since I had seen that the share had happened, I had them select "Shared With Me" and sure enough, there was the presentation. 

So What Happened Next?

I had them open the presentation again and it opened the presentation but this time it gave them a message that the document is very popular and they should try again or dismiss. This was a bandwidth issue I thought. I explained to them it is like lining up for music. We cannot all get through the door at the same time. However after a number of minutes we were still encountering the same issue with only 17 students. I had my students close the tab with the presentation and try opening again. No luck.

So What Did I Do?

    1. I had them all put their monitors at 45 degrees and decided to go straight to the teacher demonstration of what they would be doing for the first few steps. I used the template as an exemplar on the Smartboard of what I wanted them to do once the issue was resolved.
    2. After my demo, about 10 minutes later, I had students open the Inuit presentation from their Shared With Me folder and we had success.
    3. Students then got access and made a copy and were able to work on their project.

    Why Share This Misadventure?

    I am sharing this adventure not to discourage people. Rather I am hoping that it shows that even "tech savvy" teachers encounter problems. As well, to spotlight the value in spending time in understanding how the new tools of our trade work so that we can not only problem solve on our own but demonstrate to our students how to problem solve when encountering technical problems.

    Oh and to get helpful feedback - thanks Terry for the helpful comment!

    1 comment:

    1. A great example of perseverance! Ms. Mondor - what you unfortunately may have run into today was a brief Google outage - something completely beyond your control.

      The anonymous users - probably your students who were going to the shared Presentation without being logged into Google Apps. This is because you'd shared it with "Anyone in the world can edit".

      I'd suggest letting SchoolZone do more of the work for you. When you create an assignment in SchoolZone, attach the presentation template you've created and when you do so simply check the "view only" button for your students. This will create a version that they can see, but will have no choice but to "Make a copy" to edit. They can then share this back with you.

      Sounds like you figured out a good way to get it to them in the 2nd I said - probably got bit by that big outage...which certainly doesn't happen very often (it's been years since the last!)

      Happy blogging...the site looks fantastic!