Google Documents

June 16, 2008 at 2:17 am 4 comments

· Google Docs (docs.google.com) is the second Web 2.0 tool that I chose. It is an online site where one can create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online . The site has the following capabilities:

1. Create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online –

Create basic documents from scratch.
This includes all the standard features for making documents and it is free.

Upload your existing files.
Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc.

Familiar desktop feel makes editing a breeze.
Program has an easy toolbar feature in order to edit documents.

2. Share and collaborate real time –

Choose who can access your documents.
You invite people by entering their e-mail address.

Share instantly.
As soon as the people who are invited sign in, they can access the document.,

Edit and present with others in real time.
Many can make changes on the document at the same time. There is a chat feature attached to the document. Also, if someone joins a presentation late they can follow along through the chat.

3. Safely store and organize your work –

Edit and access from anywhere.
You don’t have to worry about saving your files to flashdrives, h-drives… You can access your files anywhere via the Internet.

Safely store your work.
Your work is stored online and there is an autosave feature.

Easily save and export copies.
You can save your documents and spreadsheets to your own computer in DOC, XLS, CSV, ODS, ODT, PDF, RTF and HTML formats.

Organize your documents
The program has a folder feature so you can organize your documents.

4. Control who can see your documents –

Publish your work as a web page.

Control who can see your pages.
You choose who to publish to and how many can view your materials.

Post your documents to your blog.

Publish within your company or group.
Use
Google Apps, in order to share documents with your group.

This is an example of how one member uses it. Although it is not a school, it shows the nice capability of sharing a spreadsheet. How many of us have printed or e-mailed the spreadsheet around to get people to sign up for things? Gee.. we just did it in this class for our blog choices.

From Frank, ardent member of Red Sox Nation (I too am a big BoSox Fan!!!! – Flo)

I am a Red Sox season ticket holder who moved to St. Louis. Although I can’t make it to Fenway more than a few times per year any more, I’ve kept my season tickets and let my family and friends buy them. Historically I created an Excel spreadsheet and e-mailed it to one person at a time, but it was always a hassle waiting for someone to pick their games before being able to send it on to the next person. I’d get calls from people demanding the spreadsheet, and I’d have to say “you’re third in line, be patient”. Or people would be miffed that they didn’t get the spreadsheet earlier (where are all the Yankee games? Why are all the Saturday games taken? How come you sent it to him before me?). With [Google Docs] the logistics are far simpler, now I can just e-mail everyone and let them pick whatever games are available. And instead of the process dragging out for months, I wouldn’t be surprised if this year it takes a week.

· The website for this 2.0 tool provided this very nice table to show system requirements.

Browsers we support*

Windows XP / NT

Windows Vista

Linux (Ubuntu)

MAC OSX 14 +

Mac OSX 13.9 and below**

Safari 3

X

X

Internet Explorer 6

X

Internet Explorer 7

X

X

Firefox 2.0

X

X

X

X

X

Firefox 3.0***

X

X

X

X

X

· The options for this system in a school setting seem endless to me. I keep thinking of all the gradebooks, tech plan meetings, grade level meetings, documents that are e-mailed around the building, content area meetings, and not to mention the countless presentations. This type of Web 2.0 tool allows for the efficient use of time, paper, and planning. A grade level team could determine their core class lists by working together on the same spreadsheet. Yes, we do this now but we have the spreadsheet in front of us at a table with a pen. The collaborative work among faculty could be done efficiently and expeditiously using this type of tool.

· Students could work in collaborative groups on presentations both during school hours and after school hours. I think about my high school boys and the countless text messaging and e-mailing of documents back and forth. This tool would allow these groups to work on the presentation/project at the same time and actually benefit from all of the feedback. I see use for this at the elementary level again with the group projects. If a teacher were willing they could even arrange for a time to be online and help students with writing assignments rather than waiting for the student to e-mail it or bring in a hard copy. This would allow for instant feedback. A caution here, teachers do not need to work after hours with students. Perhaps this could be done in an online workshop during school or with an extra curricular club – the newspaper club.

· This is an address for a YouTube video about the 2.0 too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA

· A free Google account is needed. I would be hopeful for this type of tool based on the new tech guidelines from BCPS. I would also hope that the main offices of the school system would look at this type of Web 2.0 tool for management purposes. How wonderful for principals to be able to go to a meeting without actually going. Too often our administration is pulled out of the schools for meetings.

· If Baltimore County would allow the use of a tool like this, there would have to be several guidelines put in place in order to use it with students. E-mail addresses would have to be available for students to be able to use it. Students/Parents would have to understand the guidelines of using such tools and the ethical use of sharing documents. There would definitely be education necessary for the users of this Web 2.0 tool.

· I am pretty excited about this Web 2.0 tool and the prospects for using it with faculty at our school. I am going to write curriculum for the next two weeks and we will all be sitting around a computer trying to read and edit the same document. With this tool, I could be doing it from my home, saving gas and drinking coffee. Wow!

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. becca14  |  June 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Flo,
    Thanks for the information! The OBE team is currently using Google Docs to work on our school initiative and it is really a great tool! We are able to add comments within the document for others to read. I also really liked all of your other ideas for implementing this within the school setting.

    Reply
  • 2. skbrown537  |  June 16, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing all the different ways you could see Google Docs being used in the classroom and school house, Flo! As our OBE team has played around with it for our school project, I have found it to be very engaging to see how a document can mature and change over time and collaboration.

    Reply
  • 3. gmdevos  |  June 17, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Google Docs is something that I kept hearing about and had to check out (Yes, I have been saying that a lot lately!). Seeing is believing! I really like this site because as you said, you can do many things with it such as collaborate and store online. Again, it is a Web 2.0 tool that is logical for use with students. The only issue is the fact that you need an account. That seems to be the loophole for many of these great tools.

    I, too am a Red Sox fan! Born in Boston and all!

    Reply
  • 4. dsmith3  |  June 18, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you for all the extra information that you included. It seems to be a tool just like PBwiki. I would love to see our school use a tool like this and see its application as a great avenue for communication as opposed to emailing. Emailing is outdated compared to the usefulness of this Web 2.0 tool.

    Reply

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