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Google Web 2.0 Tools - Docs

Google terms their numerous applications that are available for free consumer use as products.  Many of those products satisfy the definition of Web 2.0 tools as they allow for interactivity, collaboration and information sharing. There are numerous schools with classes who are already using Google applications in class.

Google Products

Here’s a list of the more common Google products that are used in school:

  • Earth
  • Maps
  • Blogger
  • Calendar
  • SketchUp
  • Documents

Google Documents is particularly useful in the classroom, so I’m going to explain how to get started and the functions that are available. First, if you don’t already have a Google I.D., it’s time to get one! There are really so many benefits to using Google applications that once you get started you’ll wish you had known sooner!

It’s easy to get a Google I.D.:

  1. Search for “Google Documents” in the Google search box.
  2. Select “Google Documents” on the search results.
  3. Select “Create an Account Now”  and follow the steps for getting an I.D.

Note: If you already have a Gmail, you simply “Sign In” using your Gmail I.D. because Google will simply redirect you during the sign up process to your Gmail I.D.  It’s just like an Apple I.D. in that way — one I.D. to use regardless of what application is being used.

Here’s Google’s explanation of why to use Google Documents:

Once you are signed into Google Documents you will see a screen like this one that appears much like a web mail interface:

Google Docs Image

Listen to the brief audio below that outlines the basic functions and advantages of using Google Docs:

These are the basic functions of the Google Docs application. As mentioned, the main fantastic feature of this application is the ability to share a document with others to view or edit the document. If you are working on a course unit with other teachers, you could use Google Docs to create the files that would be used to create the unit. Every teacher working on the unit can view, make comments and add their own content to the files as they develop. As you are working, there is no confusion about which file is the latest file because there is only one file that is collaboratively viewed and edited. Students, when given an assignment where they have to collaborate using Google docs, will benefit from these features as well.

Finally, the teacher should be the owner of each group’s work and in the file settings should choose to receive notifications of changes. The teacher can view the changes as they occur and even peruse the development of a group’s work and make comments to help them proceed in a meaningful direction.

Articles of Interest:

Relevant Facts:

  • There is a combined limit of 200 owners, collaborators and viewers of any document (spreadsheet or presentation).
  • There can be up to 10 collaborators on any document or presentation; while there can be up to 50 collaborators on any spreadsheet.

Next: Google Web 2.0 Tools that encourage, support and assist collaboration, i.e. Calendar, Maps, Earth, Sites and Blogger.

Other Articles: Learning Today Blog – Google Docs in the Classroom, Additions to Your Teacher Toolbox – 5 Web 2.0 Tools,

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4 comments to Google Web 2.0 Tools – Docs

  • Kimberly,

    Thanks for sharing this post on Google Tools, there is so many useful tools that google has that allows us to share information and connect very easily! Great useful tool in classrooms for group work!

  • I am really looking forward to using it. One concern that has been expressed by other teachers is the collaborative element. Now they are greatly in favour of collaboration, but each student should be individually assessed on their contribution to the collaborative effort. It’s difficult to determine what each student has contributed while working online–without hand-generated writing process. I am planning to have the students submit individual forms to assess the contributions of their peers. Now the peer evaluation will not be directly a part of the mark, but it may influence my decision as to the grade for the contribution. Individual assessment is key as well, so students will complete a self-assessment to clarify and justify their contributions. I was also thinking that I could have them highlight and label their contributions using the comment feature; however, if one person does some work and then another feels it’s not good enough and replaces it, it wouldn’t really be fair. I am fairly certain though that I can subscribe to changes, so although it would be very time-consuming, I could trace their development. Since I’ll be monitoring their progress, I should have a good idea of how the group effort has progressed.

  • Hi Kim,

    Google pretty much has something for everyone and everything. What a great way to use the docs. I’m thinking your idea is a good one…it brings to mind previous experience of mine during a group school project. Some of the folks just didn’t contribute as much (if at all) so I’m glad to see the thought you are putting in to assessing individual contributions. Best of luck with your project.

  • If you are interested in more discussion on how Google Docs can be used in the English classroom, join the English Companion Ning; then join the Teaching With Technology Group

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