Have you seen or used Google Docs?

Posted on July 28, 2007. Filed under: General |

by C. Arnold

I’ve been to NECC and BLC07 this year..(and let me say if you have never attended one of these conferences, you need to go!) and was surprised that so few people were using Google Docs, or had even heard of it.  I stumbled upon this about a year ago.  For those of you that are not familiar with Google Docs, it is apart of Google (of course)…but it allows you to upload Word Documents or Excel Spreadsheets into your Doc account.  At that time you can invite others to view your file or to edit your file (they are called collaborators).    I have to admit, the first time I used this was for a rather simple task.  Our office was having a get-together.  I listed the items that we needed for the meal, and then had my co-workers sign-up for what they could bring.  How cool… we did not have to send around a list on paper…each just went on line and signed up for what they could bring and could even add new items if needed.  Granted this was not a great instructional use, (hey our party was great though!), but it did start me thinking about how this could be used in the classroom. 

Many teachers are fearful of using online collaboration tools or blogs because they are either blocked by the district or are fearful of “who” the student may communicate with.  (Now, this is an entirely different topic that I could ramble on and on about…but will not at this time. )  Google Docs is great for online collaboration and solves most of the problems teachers have with other sites.  The site can be set up by the teacher (which makes her the owner) and he/she can invite the individual students he/she chooses to edit the document (each student will have to set up a google doc account before hand).  Only the collaborators the teacher invites can view the document.  The teacher can also add other teachers or students to be “viewers” only.  These viewers can see the document but cannot make any changes. 

One cool feature is the “Revisions” tab.  You can see when people actually contributed to the document or spreadsheet and what they contributed.  This feature really would help the teacher monitor access and participation of the group.  There is a chat feature…but you can only chat with the members of the allowed group ( of which remember the teacher is one of!)

I know we all think that Google is “taking over the world”  🙂  but this is one time that they have really gotten it right!  Please let me know if you have used this with any of your classes, how you used it, and how you assessed this collaboration.  I would love to share your ideas with other teachers here in Greenville County.        

(post from http://cathysblog.wordpress.com created by Cathy Arnold, Technology Facilitator)

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One Response to “Have you seen or used Google Docs?”

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I agree that Google docs are a truly efficient way to handle certain tasks, particularly when input is needed from a variety of people all on a variety of work schedules. I have found it to be a very practical application since the Instructional Technology Department began using the Google docs spreadsheets to allow us to sign up to teach classes, as well as set our own schedules and document the progress.


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