Another Remote Lesson on Slack and Google Docs

This morning I ran another remote lesson with my Lower Sixth class. Important to stipulate there are only six pupils. We tackled the environmental impact of technology in 40 minutes. This consisted of a surface dive into the general area and then breaking into pairs for deeper dives into specific areas. A Google Hangout at the end to sum things up (plenary). Below you can see the anonymised conversation from the Slack channel. But before that you can click here to see the outcome of the lesson.

At the end, I set homework to read the material the other pairs had assembled, and to read the textbook section on this topic. Interestingly, the textbook is less than two pages. The reason for doing this work is to help the pupils be aware of the issues surrounding the impact computers are having on the natural environment, both good and bad. I will follow up in class with an essay-type exam question that tackles this issue but requires material not directly cited in the specification.

Slack conversation

## This is quite long so I have highlighted and commented on what I think are key points in the flow of the lesson. It is important for me to read through the message thread and reflect on whether or not I made good decisions. Typos are left in. Some text has been removed but not much.

daibarnes [11:26 PM]  ## reminder message sent night before

@channel remote lesson in the morning. See you logged on at 0830.

—– Today December 3rd, 2016 —–

daibarnes [8:08 AM]  

Today we are going to investigate the environmental impact of computers. This has different strains to it. The impact of production of hardware. Disposal of obsolete hardware. Contributions to global warming through manufacturing and use of technology including the Internet. However there are positive environmental impacts as well. Use of technological science to understand exactly how to protect the environment by solving problems caused by humans. ## introduction text


Start by looking into the general area for a little while

daibarnes [8:16 AM]  

Your aim is to deep dive into one area – three different areas to work on in pairs on a Google Doc – 1. the harm computer manufacture is causing to natural ecosystems and biodiversity. 2. the methods and efficacy of recycling and how the computer industry is taking measures to be more green. 3. the use of technology to solve the environmental problems caused by humans (not just those caused by tech).


@Student 3 @Student 5 morning Gents – can you ping the others on their chosen flavour of notificationised media please?

Student 3 [8:17 AM]  

yes I will tell them on the fb group ## pupils have a facebook group for the class



thanks @Student 3

Student 2 [8:19 AM]  

whos deciding who does what

daibarnes [8:19 AM]  

you are


@Student 2 is in charge of research allocation ## allocation of responsibility allows me to manage other things

Student 2 [8:20 AM]  



@Student 3 @Student 5 you can do 1

Student 3 [8:21 AM]  


daibarnes [8:21 AM]  

first of all is the surface dive into the topic – familiarise yourselves

Student 2 [8:21 AM]  

@Student 4 @Student 1 will do 3

daibarnes [8:22 AM]  

oh – sorry – should stipulate that @Student 2 and @Student 6 cannot be a pair because they are in the same room


aren’t you?

Student 3 [8:22 AM]  ## pupil suggests integrating Google Docs into Slack, which I did and created a Google Doc to be a base for our notes. It automatically shared the doc with all those in the Slack channel.

Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog

Google Drive + Slack

Create and share without losing your groove.

Reading time


2 min read


Oct 19th at 5:00 PM

Student 2 [8:22 AM]  

but that just makes the job a lot more efficient



daibarnes [8:24 AM]  

shared a file

Environmental impact

Document from Google Drive

Click to open in Google Drive

1 Comment

daibarnes [8:24 AM]  

Not sure how this will work but lets use it as a top level doc to aggregate all our work.

Student 3 [8:24 AM]  

I will delete mine

daibarnes [8:25 AM]  

can you all edit it?

Student 2 [8:25 AM]  

does anyone have any good websites?

daibarnes [8:25 AM]  

i do

[8:25] ## previously found source material

Student 6 [8:25 AM]  

@daibarnes Student 4 is downloading slack

daibarnes [8:27 AM]  



Technology and innovation:  New and existing technologies have the potential to transform society’s impacts on the environment, how we minimise those impacts and how we carry out our business more cost-effectively. From remote sensing to DNA analysis, from big data to the ‘internet of things’, we need research to help us exploit these benefits

daibarnes [8:28 AM]  

uploaded and commented on a file




Click to view


extract from this doc

Student 4 [8:29 AM]  

Here sir

daibarnes [8:30 AM]  

no @Student 1 yet as usual


he’s gone green!!??


@channel On the GDoc, place generic links for surface articles ## at channel notification pings everybody with short instructions


then create a doc per pair and link to it once you have done the research

Student 2 [8:32 AM]  

commented on daibarnes’ file Collaborative_Research_Priorities_for_the_Environment_Agency_2016-2020.pdf

this is quite a dense document

daibarnes [8:32 AM]  

to work fast you will need to paste extracts and sources in your docs


it is – use CTRL+F


Student 4 [8:36 AM]


9 technologies that promise to clean up the planet

Whether working on better maps or organic batteries, these firms are at the forefront of developing tech to help the planet. (85KB)


Student 4 [8:36 AM]  

sir would preventing rather than solving be better?


daibarnes [8:37 AM]  

same sort of thing @Student 4 but yes


daibarnes [8:38 AM]  

@Student 1 good morning! 


daibarnes [8:38 AM]  

over to the doc please? let’s get this party started




@channel okay – let’s split off into our pairs please.

Student 4 [8:43 AM]  

@Student 3 @Student 5 this might help


Ecological Impacts of Technology

Research about the negative and positive impacts of technology on today’s society.

daibarnes [8:43 AM]  

Itchy brain – love it.

Student 5 [8:43 AM]  


daibarnes [8:44 AM]  

you will notice it is hard to actually find stuff on google – the algorithms do not help much – you have to experiment with your keywords


this is what can happen when so many web pages are written – google starts to show how useless it can be – we should do a test sometime to see how our search results differ if we search the same keywords.


@channel you have 15 minutes to do your deeper dives – return at 0901

Student 2 [8:49 AM]  

Student 6 and i r working on a separate doc if youre wondering where we are

daibarnes [8:49 AM]  

I assumed you all are! _fingers crossed nervously_


Student 5 [8:59 AM]  

there are alot more articles against technology than there are for technology saving the environment

daibarnes [9:00 AM]  

@channel okay – back in the room please


Can you share your work onto the Google Doc so everyone can access it? ## pupils pasted their findings in the outcome doc linked to earlier


@Student 5 that is true and tells its own story



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