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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Tweeted a Google Document and a Neat Thing Happened

Yesterday, I gave a short presentation on teaching with technology and primary sources. During that presentation I demonstrated how I have used Google Documents to support classroom conversations about primary source documents. I wanted to share the document with everyone in the audience but I didn't have email addresses to enter in the sharing field and the screen in the room was too small for folks in the back to see if I posted a shortened URL. So I Tweeted the document for anyone to find. My intent was to get the document out to the audience and the side effect was that any of my 62k+ followers could access it too.

I set the permissions as "can comment" on the document that I Tweeted yesterday. In the comments I found a note from Steve Goldberg that inspired my thinking about Tweeting Google Documents. This was his comment:

I made a few comments below -- I'm not sure what class/project this is for but I am intrigued by the use of combining a Google Doc with a Tweet for an assignment :) I'm writing from Durham, NC.

Applications for Education
The conclusion to this story is that I started thinking about Tweeting Google Documents while teaching a current events course. I envision it working like this:

  • Copy and paste text of an article into a Google Document (giving attribution for the source and making it clear that this is done only for critique under the guidelines of fair use). 
  • Set the permissions on the Google Document as "public, can comment."
  • Tweet and or Google+ the document. Include in the Tweet that I'm seeking polite comments to enhance the classroom conversation. 
  • Change the permissions back to "view only" when enough comments have been received. 
By Tweeting the document I can get comments from others that can add a different perspective to our classroom conversation about a current event. 

Yes, there are some concerns associated with making a document publicly available like this. First, I would not do this with students younger than high school age. Second, if you have a lot of followers you will need to closely monitor comments. Third, remember to change the permissions to "view only" when you have whatever you deem to be "enough" comments.