Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spread the Word.....about Google Docs

Why is it that so few teachers and students know about Google Docs?

From the website:
Here's what you can do with documents:
  • Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text (or create documents from scratch).
  • Use our simple WYSIWYG editor to format your documents, spell-check them, etc.
  • Invite others (by e-mail address) to edit or view your documents and spreadsheets.
  • Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
  • View your documents' and spreadsheets' revision history and roll back to any version.
  • Publish documents and spreadsheets online to the world, as Web pages or post documents to your blog.
  • Download documents to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip.
  • Email your documents out as attachments.
To me, this is one of the most underutilized yet powerful Web2.0 tools available. EVERY teacher who assigns collaborative projects really should be informing their students about Google Docs as well. They go hand in hand. Students' schedules are so busy, it is often difficult or impossible to schedule times for them to work together. Or, students end up emailing each other their work for review. There are inherent problems with this option.

So, turn to Google Docs, an online word processing tool that is accessible anywhere and editable when you are a collaborator. In addition, you can add links, graphics, bookmarks AND insert comments by name. Also, you can easily retrieve an earlier version to review changes and who made them.

This is a tool that every educator should know about. Add it to your toolbox for your own committee work or collaborative projects. It's intuitive, easy to learn and indispensable.

But more importantly, teach your students about Google Docs. They will thank you for it!

Update: Raju mentioned which I have blogged about in the past and which is an online office suite. Check out Zohowriter. It has more toolbar icons than Google Docs but doesn't seem to have the comment feature that Google has. At least I couldn't find it from a quick review of the product. That feature is important to me! Others may be more important to you so compare each product. They take literally seconds to set up.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen....also look @ Zoho (

Raju Vegesna

SBT said...

What a smart idea! Thank you Karen, I can't wait to inform my students about it. It'll work very well as students are online so often! Take care!

Brian Grenier said...


The issue we face in my school district is lack of student email accounts. We've been looking into possible solutions, but of course there is always issues about exposing students to inapproprite SPAM. I suppose you could use a generic login (email a account) maintained by the teacher, but I tend to feel that that takes away some of the ownership. I have been considering developing an all-day workshop for teachers this summer on the tools and resources made available through Google...they're wonderful! Any suggestions?


Karen Janowski said...

I would suggest that you have your teachers show the site to their students. The students can create their at home, separate from the classroom. Students will use them as they see fit for their collaborative classwork.
As far as Google resources - don't have specific recommendations other than the obvious ones - Show them how to customize their Google homepage (I'm still amazed how few people know about that), use Notebook, of course, Google Earth and Google Desktop. And Skype is now part of the Google Pack so you can show them that. A full day will allow everyone to fully explore the possibilities!

pcwork said...
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Kelly Christopherson said...


I've been doing some looking at online desktops to see how we might use them. I like the look of GoogleDocs, I just wish you could have all the tools in one location. I've been looking at a few desktops and right now desktopwto ( and Desktop On Demand ( are the two I'm considering. I like the different choices available with each. I hope that Zoho and Google come out with an desktop suite because their products are great. I'll maybe give Google a more serious look!