Current serious report disclose how teenagers are using Google Docs to pass messages and chat, right under their teachers’ noses.
Meanwhile A report in The Atlantic tells of a rise in the phenomenon, as students realise that it allows them to pass private messages at times when phones aren’t welcome.
With the number of classes teachers using Google Docs in classrooms to allow users to collaborate on exercises on the rise, the phenomenon has increased, as the students find ways to get around messaging bans that the teachers don’t even know exist.
There are three tactics – Google apps contain a live chat function – not many people realise that even exists, but of course, if anyone is going to find it, it’s ‘da kids’.
Another is the ‘comments’ methods – used to add notes to changes made to collaborative documents. The kids clone the doc using “save a copy” and then highlight passages and add comments to pass messages. And teach is never any the wiser.
The third is simply to write into the document itself – some use different fonts to differentiate between writers.
Once the message is received, the recipient simply “resolves” the comment, and it disappears in a snapchatty kind of way.
What’s particularly interesting about this crumpled piece of paper on steroids method, is that it could actually help Google and others find new forms of communications that are right for their potential audience.
Equally, it’s slightly embarrassing for Google, because students would rather be using a word processor, instead of the umpteen instant messaging offerings that it currently has (though Allo was retired recently, because was that thing still a thing anyway?).
The important thing is that to anyone else, it just looks like the students are getting on with their work. Even during homework, if a parent has said “no social media till you’ve done your homework”, they’re none the wiser.
It just goes to show, when it comes to tech, young folk will always be one step ahead.