Prior to leaving for college in August, I made a purchase that I thought would help my daughter fulfill her technological needs as a college freshman. I bought a chromebook. I wanted to spend the time walking her through the ins and outs of her new device. She wouldn’t let me and insisted that she could figure it out. She did, for the most part. She found youtube, twitter and her college textbooks. As I pressed her for finding where she would type her college essays, she responded…
“This thing doesn’t have Microsoft mom.”
To which I replied…
“No, it has google docs which is pretty great.”
I asked time and again if she found google docs and her response was almost always a swift change in the subject. I knew that she had not. Instead of using her own device in her dorm, she spent hours in the library typing via microsoft and “googling” research.
It is now November and tonight we changed that.
My daughter asked me, the “math teaching mom”, for help editing her college essay. For someone who refused my math help since I taught Geometry and NOT Algebra II, therefore not “knowing enough” about the topic, the irony does not escape me.
Never Used Google? Just Jump Right In!
Like most kids her age who have never gone “Google”, my daughter was using tools that were familiar to her. In lieu of her emailing me her document, I created a document in my Drive and shared the link to her. Without missing a beat, she pasted her paper into the document, no different than she would when using a Word document.
This is where the magic begins!
I started highlighting and commenting right away. The kid was a bit shocked, but in a good way. How on earth was I typing in her document 180 miles away and also commenting like we would on any of our social networks. It was like magic happening!!
Remember that whole “research happening outside of the document” part? I encouraged her to find “tools and research”, and like a kid in a candy store, she excitedly found that every tool that she needed for class was right there within the google interface. Like Tom Cruise being “had at hello”, I had my daughter at “cite as footnote” and “insert”.
For a heavily independent young lady “going google” was as simple as getting the entry point to do so. She started flying like the wind as we traded editing back and forth, rewording and revising.
What used to be a one sided conversation via email was now a collaborative effort and one that she did not need to go to the library to have.
The chromebook just got a bit more powerful to this college freshman.
It only took three months.