#MWGS Highlight: Caroline Haebig & Collaborative Reflection with Google Hangouts on Air

#MWGS Highlight: Caroline Haebig & Collaborative Reflection with Google Hangouts on Air

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Midwest Google Summit in Wisconsin, which was a great event. One of the things that I noticed was the amount of sessions on reflection.

Student reflection and capturing student though process throughout a project or assignment are incredibly important to getting an accurate picture of what they really know. One session really stood out to me, and I want to share the highlights with you. It was really a rather simple idea – a teacher asked his students to reflect during the paper writing process. But it was a really interesting process.

Caroline Haebig, @Haebig

Engaging Learners in Collaborative Reflection w GHO on Air

Caroline discussing “Why GHOs on Air” on air

Free iBook w Chapter around this presentation

Caroline started her presentation by asking what really matters when students reflect, just as the teacher asked himself. The answers they came up with were this:

  • Reflection has a larger audience
  • Technology captures reflection in real time
  • Peers & professionals shape the process
  • We want kids to work on presenting themselves online through an academic and professional lens

They chose to use Google Hangouts to do this because they thought that the screensharing, modeling, apps, and editing features were important to the process.

So the process went a little bit like this:

The Learning Experience

  1. Instead of just having students identify a research question for their paper, they had to work through a couple extra steps
    1. This was an activity just as much about getting used to being on video/taking video/talking through ideas as it was about answering the question
    1. Pitch research question to an audience, audience asks questions, gets kids to think about question/topic in a different way, from a different perspective
    2. Wanted this built into a portfolio and recorded
    3. Create a video reflection where you respond to the following prompt: “How do I know that my topic is focused enough?”
  2. Through the writing process, students were asked to meet with the teacher and with peer groups to answer questions such as:
    1. How do I know I’ve addressed a range or perspectives?
    2. How do I know I’ve reached an appropriate depth of complexity for my topic?
    3. Talk with a partner (did this on their own time – some kids at school, some at home – wanted to push conversations outside of the school day
      1. Kids were asked later to look at how their partner reacted and responded as they talked through their ideas
      2. Also discussed proper video etiquette for the product you are creating for after the actual discussion
  3. When it came time to do some real editing, the kids put themselves in groups of 3-4. They were asked to:
    1. Share the most current draft of your paper as a GDoc, share with group, give comment ability
    2. For your own paper, highlight portions of the paper you have questions about in terms of development or support.
    3. On your own paper, write questions you have next to highlighted features of text
    4. Before hangout, take 20-30 minutes (total) to review your group members’ papers on Drive, use the comments feature, rpvodie feedback in writing, this way, when you meet virtually, your conversations will have a starting point and you can explain more fully your reaction
    5. GHO on Air
      1. Whoever is doing the talking about the paper must be screensharing so the paper is what the audience is seeing so we know what you are talking about
      2. During the hangout, each person will take a turn bringing up her/his paper (screen share). First person to speak will be author, he will return to the highlighted portions and summarize his thinking.
      3. Wear headphones, mute microphone when not talking

Throughout the process they learned a few things

    1. Created checklists for the kids so they knew all the steps to getting their GHO on Air to work properly
    2. Activate Google+ and connect YouTube channel to use On Air
    3. If there are only 2 people in the GHO you will only get video of the dominant speaker, you don’t get the “little boxes” of faces at the bottom



We must continually teach students to engage in reflective behavior because it adds so much to the depth of the process. Reflection occurs alongside the learning, not just after the learning. Ask students to document their process as they go. When you are asking students to write, remember that it’s not just about the content, but about the process – the writing process, the research process, the reflection process.