Many teachers already know how to use Google Docs in the classroom. After receiving some PD during the school year on Google Docs, I introduced them to my fourth and fifth grade students who used them to type while researching and share documents. Being able to share a document that I made or have someone share a doc with me is one of my favorite features. Our limited space school email accounts don’t get overloaded with attachments now since people can share within Google Cloud Storage.
I like a tutorial that I found by Stacey Huffine about Google Docs which I have linked below. It gives you a quick 12 minute overview of how to use Google Docs. You can get a free account by signing up for a gmail account. My school district is a Google Apps For Education or GAFE district which allows our students to have their own accounts and to share their Docs within our district when working collaboratively. I love the research and citation ability that one can do directly from within a Google Doc. The commenting features allow collaborators to give feedback about the doc. Since all comments and changes are saved within Google Cloud storage as soon as the words are typed, there will never be a need to remember to Save changes. Whether you are a teacher giving your feedback to students or collaborating about a lesson plan with other teachers, Google Docs is a very helpful tool. Another neat feature of Google Docs is that it allows you to turn your Doc into a web page by converting it into an HTML format. As a result, if students have created a Doc or Presentation (similar to Power Point), it can be exported onto your class web page or on to students’ web pages!
Google Classroom has been launched which feels a bit like Edmodo. I am still learning about Google Classroom but wanted to share the link below in hopes that it would be a catalyst to help another teacher learn how to jump into Google Docs!
I also want to mention the place where I found Stacey’s tutorial. Todd Nelsoney is a principal in Texas whom I follow on Twitter. He created a Summer Learning Challenge for his staff. After putting the challenge on Twitter, other teachers worldwide (thousands of them!) have now taken the challenge. I have not been able to do all of the challenges, but have enjoyed growing while watching tutorials that Todd has placed on his website. Here is a link to his Summer Learning Challenges on his blog: http://summerls2014.blogspot.com/2014/07/challenge-week-8.html
I like the format of his Summer Learning Challenge and think it would be a great format to follow when offering PD to staff any time during the year! Stacey’s tutorial is on Todd’s Blog. After watching the tutorial on his blog, teachers are given a challenge to create their own Google Doc and add their name to a Google Form to indicate when they have completed the challenge. If you have never experimented with Google Docs, I challenge you today to see it for yourself and create a Document or a Presentation! If you make one and would like to share it, please send it to me as a link in the comments below. Have fun!