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Here on this blog I hope to get a conversation going amongst students, teachers, administrators, and parents about who, what, when, why, and where we should teach technology skills for the 21st century. I am technology teacher at Truckee High School in Truckee, CA and currently teach classes like digital media, e-learning, applications, and keyboarding -- yes...still important! :) Please Join the Conversation!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Google Docs in Plain English

Today in Web 2.0 class I took my students on an exploration of Google Docs to see the power they have at their fingertips to create, edit, and save files online....in the "cloud". We discussed the benefits to moving our files to the cloud - access from any Internet connected device...including mobile phones, secure file backup, intuitive organizing tools, as well as other things the students thought of. But the most powerful and important feature that we discussed was the ability that Google Docs gives its users to collaborate and share with others. Students saw the benefits of this when working with other peers on group projects and for sharing study guides and reflections when preparing for exams.

The video below is a great short explanation of what Google Docs is and how it can make its users more efficient and effective with their work. Most interesting is the brilliance the developers had when they switched the thinking around in regards to email attachments. Rather than sending email attachments back and forth with others when collaborating on a project, why not create one document in the cloud and give everyone you wish access to it. Now you can work simultaneously or at different times and see everyones edits immediately. I am now reconfiguring my class curriculum to incorporate the use of more Google Docs versus having students email me their work. With over 100 students per day emailing me I think I may be able to save at least an hour per day by moving to this format. Just go to my Google Doc "home" and check all the work right their one single document versus say.....34 student emails. Even if I just spend 1 minute per email this is a time costly practice so it is exciting to explore how this can better serve my classes while at the same time teach my students extremely relevant 21st century technology skills!


  1. With Google Docs we can share documents with everyone much easier without being pissed off with a computer full of copies and documents everywhere in emails and in any files.
    Cause of Google Docs you can work in team easier because you just have to create the document and post it on Google to share it. You don't need to send to your collaborators 5 times the same thing just create once and post. Also you can save some memory on your computer because everything will be in the cloud so you can have access to it but not only with your computer, with any one. Then if you loose your computer in an accident or we stole it, your documents are not lost for ever!

  2. Student response when completing an assignment which required them to read my blog post and reflect on their learning around Google Docs.

    Google Docs Reflection
    After reading through your blog and discussing with the class, I have understood new ways to use this power tool know as Google Docs. Google Docs allows for many things, most importantly it gives employees and peers a way to share a document without all the mess of an email! To share a document you used to have to email it to all the contacts and that was often messy and stressful. Now the tables have turned, now all you have to do is simply send out an email sharing a document that everyone can view in one place. Google Docs is much more productive and less time-consuming than regular emails where you have to attach a file. Google Docs is an especially great tool for businesses and companies because now they can have conference and uses this tool as a great form of group communication.

    I can already think of many ways I will be able to use this tool. I can use Google Docs with peers if we are doing a take home project such as a power point presentation. Through this tool we can all work together to create our project as a collective group. If we have a class writing or literature project we could also use this tool. At work, you could use Google Docs to share documents and power points with other people and other offices. Over all, I think Google Docs is a great tool to use amongst employees and peers and is much more efficient than email.

  3. Another student response by Will.

    Google docs is a very helpful tool that allows its users to collaborate their works over the Internet. In google docs the users can allow others to edit and or read their post over the Internet. Another helpful thing that google docs allows you to is leave comments on someones posts telling them what you think. And finally google docs cleans up all the mess that email attachments cause. The feature of online collaboration makes emailing documents useless, so you don’t get all the emails with all the changes from different people, and have to combine all of them.

    Google docs can also be used to make school work easier. If there is a paper that a group is working on for their project, google docs allows all members of the group to collaborate at one time. Another way that google docs can help in school work is with the comments and viewing section. These two features allow other people to read your paper and let you know what they think, and how you can improve it. In your personal life google docs could be used in place of I.M.ing, because both people could just be talking over a google doc. And finally a way google docs can make your work life more successful is again with the comments and viewing feature. If you are about to turn in a big paper to your boss, you could invite a few people you know to read your letter and in the comments give you some constructive criticism. Over all google docs are very helpful and allow its users much more than Microsoft word or any other type of word program. Even though google docs will not take over word programs, it is a very helpful tool to have.

  4. Another cool reflection.

    Google Docs is an innovation or alternate way to share documents with friends, family, or coworkers. With Google Docs the document you want to share is posted to the internet and those who you want to see or edit it can do so without endless emails going back and forth. Google Docs shortens the amount of time editing documents that are going to be shared with a group of people due to the ability for one person to edit and all being able to see it, therefor everyone can have an equal amount of input and access to it.

    One way i can use Goolge Docs in my life is with english class, we may have to collaborate on a paper and not everyone can be in one place at the same time. Another way is that i could help my dad out with Google Docs, he owns a construction business and emails all day to multiple clients about plans. With Google Docs i could help my dad edit just one paper or plan and then the rest of his clients or coworkers can see it and add input or edit it. With Google Docs my family could use it in the planning of familial events, such as the reunion, we could plan out who brings what and have it all written out so no one forgets. Those are the ways Goolge Docs can be used in my life.

  5. Another!
    Google Docs:
    Google Docs is great. I like you and the person in the video explaining Google Docs am swamped with emails and often drafts of the same email. It makes it very difficult to keep track of the current draft or sort the emails out. And it is so much clutter for my inbox. Google docs is also great because it can share presentations spreadsheets forms and drawings. I am really interested in graphic design and drawing so this is a really cool feature for me. The concept of being able to share the documents with others and see them edit and comment is a really neat concept, unlike before where we all had thousands of emails. Overall Google Docs allows everyone to collaborate on documents on a safe secure in a neater setting. In the near future this will be how we write and send documents all the time.

    Personally Google Docs will really help me reorganize my life. When I write essays for class I often back up my documents by sending a digital backup to myself and my dad. Often I will have 3 or 4 emails in my inbox and if they are not named correctly it may take awhile to find the current one. Now with my essays able to be saved to the web I can take out the hassle of going through email is secure. If I want my dad to edit one of my papers he can now edit it right on the document and I can see where he changes or adds pieces. Presentations and spreadsheets are also on Google docs so if I ever have to present in class with a group this is a great and simple way to all work on the same project. In short this will make editing presenting and sharing documents so simple, even if they people you are working with don’t have a google account. This will definitely be something that I will use often!



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