This morning in Dubuque, Iowa at the 2014 TIC Conference I shared some tools and ideas for teaching with technology and primary sources. The slides from the session are embedded below. The images in the slides are hyperlinked to the tools pictured.
On the fourth slide above you will notice a note about using Google Documents to host discussions around primary source documents. The process that I use for doing that is outlined below.
1. Find a digital copy, preferably in the Public Domain, of the primary source document that I want all of my students to read.
2. Copy and paste the primary source document into a Google Document.
3. Share the document with my students and allow them to comment on the document. I usually use the sharing setting of “anyone with the link” and then post the link on my blog. Alternatively, you could share by entering your students’ email addresses.
4. I will highlight sections of the primary source document and insert a comment directly attached to the highlighted section. In my comments I will enter discussion prompts for students. They can then reply directly to my comments and each other’s comments.
Using this process in a classroom that is not 1:1
If you teach in a classroom that is not 1:1 you can still take advantage of some of this process. Consider having one or two students play the role of note-taker in the Google Document while you are hosting your classroom discussion with all of your students reading the printed version of the article. Have your note-takers tie comments to specific parts of the article. When the activity is over, posted the final set of notes on your classroom blog by selecting “public on the web” in the sharing setting of the Google Document and then post the link on your classroom blog.