Google Docs

by Lauren Holmes & Katie Tyson

Definition

Google Doc's is a networking operation that allows it's members to share spreadsheets, presentations, documents on-line without the need to e-mail individual copies. It eliminates mass copies and allows members to collaborate all at once on a single item. There is even a chat option. Google Doc's is free and easy to set up an account. Once you have an account you can share your pages with others and begin working.

How to use

Google Docs can be accessed by logging into Google Reader at http://google.com/reader The user signs in using their Google account information. Once signed in, click on the documents tab and select a new document. A template can be chosen or the user can create their own. The user can then proceed to creating their document, spreadsheet or presentation.
Google Docs will automatically save the file or the user can choose to save it themselves. Once the file has been saved the user can share it with anyone who has a Google account. To do this, they simply click on the tab that says 'Share'. There are two options here; to share and collaborate or to share to view. To collaborate will allow others to add to and edit the file where as to view means they can only view the file.
Enter the email; address and click on 'Invite'.
You can edit this as many times as you like simply by logging into Google.com/reader and clicking on documents as done previously. Once there, the user simply needs to select one of the files from the list. This can now be edited or added to. Any changes made will be logged automatically in the revision tool which can be found and viewed in the tools toolbar.
Well Done! Your file is now a Google Doc online.

Brief History

Google Docs was formed when two companies, Google Spreadsheets and Writely, came together. Writely was owned by a company called Upstartle, which Google bought out in 2006. The two groups came together to form Google Spreadsheets later in 2006 but was only available to a small number of people. In February 2007, the application was made available to anyone who has a Google account and in September of the same year, they released the presentation part of their application.
Google Docs is still a work in progress and is being improved all the time.

Key Features

Google Docs is made up of three parts; document, spreadsheets and presentations. Each part has its own features. Spreadsheets runs like Microsoft Excel and allows the user to create and edit spreadsheets online. Documents is a basic word processor like Microsoft Word. It allows the user to create documents from scratch or with the help of a template. Some templates include newsletters, business cards, brochures and reports. The fonts and sizes are very limited at this point in time and images can be quite hard to insert. Presentations runs like Microsft PowerPoint. Users can create presentaions using templates or their own designs to present information to an audience. Editing this can be quite frustrating and again, the choice of fonts and sizes are limited. Here is an interesting article about editing and formating Google Docs.
http://whydoeseverythingsuck.com/2008/04/ok-what-is-google-doing-with-google.html

There is no software required when using Google Docs. The user only neds to have access to a computer with Internet. Explorer works okay, but Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome work better. When using Internet Explorer, the system often crashed leaving the user stranded and becoming angrier and angrier by the second.

Educational Value

Children are always using the internet and accessing the web more commonly and easily so why not allow them to do their work for group projects on-line as well? Below I have listed a few helpful websites that show the pro's and cons of using Google Doc's and some of the problems that occur in the classroom. Google Doc's is a basic program with spreadsheet, documents, and presentations. Children can learn the basic's on these programs and work together to create the best possible product. Google Doc's also has the option of working with children from all around the world, to discuss different idea's. Google Doc's will not only help children learn about the vast resources available, but it will keep them up-to-date with the latest technology.
Google Doc's
Collaborating with Google Doc's
Comparing Google Doc's with other Doctument Sharing Sites
http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/08/tips-for-introducing-online.html

Future Learning

Google Doc's is a very simple program that does not require any training or research to understand. Simply to go Google Documents and create an account and play around with it. Memebers can write documents like they would in Microsoft Word, they can create colourful spreadsheets, and detailed powerpoints. However, powerpoint does not offer sound or video output. Below I have posted a video that clearly explains Google Doc's and how it works, the video will help inviduals understand the benefits of Google Doc's.
Google Doc's in plain english

Future Teaching

Google Doc's are very resourceful for group projects, creating newsletters, collaborating on projects, and so much more. The link below has teachers and students speaking of how they have used Google Doc's in their lives.
uses in the classroom

Teacher Benefits
Teachers can share and collaborate ideas while outside of the classroom as well as from within. There is also the posibility of planning schedules,
grade project idea's, and creating parent newsletters. Teachers can also use Google Doc's to create school newspapers, and have a private
compilation of all work that is accessible with any internet connection. Lastly, teachers have the access to see what each student has added to the
project and at what time it was last revised.

Teacher Limits
Teachers do not have access to sound or video output, and can easily become frustrated with the touchiness of the program. Google Doc's has been
proven to be sensitive to different computers and is not allowed acess by all limitation programs.

Student Benefits
Students are able to work on things outside of school and with children from all around the world.Google Doc's does a great job at familiarizing
young students with the basic's of computers and allows children to work together at their own time because of their busy schedules.

Student Limitations
Once again, students do not have access to spell and grammar check, and with the sensitivity of the program many students may become irritated
and give up all together. The young kids need the advantage of face to face socializing as they grow up rather than teachers encouraging them to be
so focused on the computer.
Possible Opportunities to use Google Doc's
-group projects
-creating school news paper
-working with a student oversea's
-planning a schedule
-signing up for specific date/time
-saving a paper if you do not have a printer nearby
-a collection of student files
-saving files for future use