If ever there was an EdTech 101 course, showing a deep understanding of Google Docs would certainly be the course’s final project. Understanding how to use Google Docs* can become just as important as knowing how to use the whiteboard, depending on how much you choose to take advantage of it.
* The terms Google Docs and Google Drive were confused when Google chose to expand the scope of their service. Still, most teachers use them interchangeably to mean either the word processing application, or the entire suite of apps.
Most people understand that Google Docs is a word processing app on the internet. Because it’s very stripped down in comparison to the bloated and clunky MS Word that most teachers are used to, some mistakenly think that it doesn’t have enough functionality. This is like buying a Tesla Model S because you drive to the grocery store twice a week – although it has a lot of crazy functions (some of which are even cool) it’s WAAAY too much for most of us.
Let’s take a look at the ABC’s of Google Docs and how to get started with the service:
The greatest power of Google Docs is in the ability to share and have documents shared with you. Now you have instant access to watching your students work on their documents live! You can see how they’re moving along, whether they’re having trouble in certain areas, and you can communicate with them about it instantly via the chat function.
If you’re still not convinced, last year there was a great post on Google+ that Kevin Brookhauser posted called Ten Sentences Google Teachers Never Hear. For those who are already using Google Docs, you know why this is so great, for those who haven’t started yet, prepare to lower your blood pressure levels: