Monday, December 8, 2008

Google Documents

There are many collaborative writing tools out there. Among them is Google Documents. Basically, Google Documents is like having a web based Office application. However, better yet, is the fact that you can use them as a collaborative tool. In other words, you can create a document and share it with others. You can invite people to contribute to the document. You have the option to invite people to view the document or edit the document. In addition, you can share the document with the world by publishing it as a web page (google will host it) or posting it to your blog.

Google Documents currently allows you to create word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, online forms, and a variety of other documents based on templates they provide (holiday shopping list, budget worksheets, calendars, etc.). There are even a number of templates specifically designed for teachers and students.

Google Documents requires that you create a FREE google account. Your google account will also allow you to use any of the many free services offered by google including gmail (google's email), google calendar (I'll cover this one in an upcoming blog), and MANY MANY more!

I can see great applications for google documents in the classroom. For example, our 8th grade Social Studies students participate in a stock market project. They share a spreadsheet on our network (or transfer it on floppy disk) and update it using Excel. With a google spreadsheet, the students could access the document from any computer with internet access. Beyond this example, any group project or peer editing situation can benefit from the use of google documents.

Create your google account and get started today!


Mary Ehid said...

I played around with this last year for a class "research paper." We created one thesis statement and each person had a separate subtopic to contribute to the overall paper. We created a class introduction and conclusion. It worked well. The students didn't realize that they could erase their fellow students work. They soon realized it; they become more careful. We worked out the kinks and I plan on using it again this year. It was fun and the kids didn't feel writing the research paper was too overwhelming for them.

Games and Learning said...

Mary - Thanks! This is a GREAT application of collaborative writing tools. I believe that even if work gets deleted, the history still exists, so you can go back and retrieve anything lost.