As I wrote about in the last post, I was using Google Docs with my 8th grade to do research in pairs. One girl had been working with real focus for about 15 minutes when a look of even deeper concentration came over her face. As I watched, the concentration shifted to dismay. She collapsed back in her chair and shook her head. When I went over, she pointed to her screen, “It’s all gone. Everything that I recorded is all gone. I had like half a page and it’s gone. I tried everything. I can’t find it.”
Resisting the urge to take the mouse, I asked her what she had done. She told me that she had gone to Edit and clicked on Undo, but nothing had happened. She knew how to handle this in Word, but it wasn’t working in Google Docs, which was clearly frustrating her. She wanted her strategies to work.
It screamed Teaching Moment. I stopped the class and had them all go to File and then to See Revisions. Then each girl worked her way through the revisions, seeing how Google kept track of all of their work. It showed them that a Google Doc is like a huge stack of paper, with each change held on one layer or another. They were awed by it. The student who had lost her work found it, copied it and pasted it into the current document, and all was well.
Then, I asked “Can anyone make a connection to this experience and what we have been talking about with Facebook?”
Their faces were not as filled with wonder, as they saw without my saying another word or turning into more of a discussion, what the durability of information on the Web can mean for them, in positive and negative ways.