One of the things that irritates me, both as a teacher and a learner, is when I see so many teachers missing a great opportunity to help learners because they only provide assistance or feedback at the end of a learning activity. Too often we assign something and wait till it is turned in before we provide feedback or evaluate their learning. Technology has made this a tactic that can be eliminated and allow us to provide feedback throughout the learning process instead of at the end, when it is often too late.
Through the use of tools, like Google Docs, we can have students working and learning in a way that is visible to the teacher throughout the process. There should never be any surprises with what students have learned at the end of a learning activity since we can assess and give feedback related to their learning throughout the process. Do not assign huge projects or papers and then complain that they did not do a good enough job if you did not provide assistance throughout the process. If you only check in on how well your students are doing at the end of something, you will soon run out of time to help them. We need to be an integral part of their whole learning process instead of just at the beginning and end. Technology makes it easy for us to do this, but only if we try.
To do this, start by using some tool where you can see their work as soon as the student starts. Google Docs fits this easily and if you use Google Docs, looking into using Google Classroom or Doctopus to make this process more efficient. You can also use various tools within Google Docs to provide feedback and questions to your students so they can learn throughout the process. (Kaizena for voice comments or just use the built in Comment/Edit/Suggestions tools) And make sure your feedback is clear to the students and that the students have options to be able to ask questions back to you or the rest of the class. The tool will not matter, it is all about the learning.