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[Replicable Practices] Week 05: Play Week (Post 1 of 2)

March 26, 2012

Thing #08 Google Docs

The fifth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and collaborate with colleagues using Google Docs.

To get an understanding of what Google Docs is I watched the following 2 Videos.

You Tube IconCommonCraft. (Producer) (2007). Google docs in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eRqUE6IHTEA

You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Introducing a new google docs [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6_hJ3R8jEZM

Comments:

You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Teachers and principals talk about google docs [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TYPjJK6LZdM#!

My thoughts on using Google Docs in professional life

Google docs is another tool to aid in the collaboration process. However, collaboration is a two way street and although the tool exists for collaboration it does not necessarily mean that it happens.

Another interesting dynamic that comes about from this collaboration tool is that groups of teachers never have to physically meet so the collaboration process is not defined by time however just as much as this is a good it can also be bad because it introduces another mechanism of seclusion.

In a classroom I can:

  • easily set an initial template that students can follow
  • share my notes with the students (cuts down on copies that I need to duplicate sometimes more than once)
  • create another entry point of interest that motivates students in completing assignments
  • correct submitted work
  • give limited access to parents so they can share in the learning and feedback process
  •  create complicated notes easily through charts and diagrams

Some issues I see include:

  • having too many editors (students) working on the document therefore confusion can occur as to who is doing what
  • students posting confidential information or other inappropriate comments that get shared and duplicated quickly before I have a chance to address the issue
  • the fact that all the students will need an email address that can be addressed through assigned emails
  • the fact that not all web browsers were created equally therefore it can create some frustrations

My thoughts on using Google Docs in my personal life

It is nice to have a central location for all of my files. No need to rely on emailed documents or USB Memory Keys that can easily get lost, stolen or damaged. Whenever and more importantly wherever I am the document is waiting for me. The need to email does not become obsolete because that is how the other person becomes invited to the collaboration process.

Overall Google Docs is an amazing collaborative work space that gives users all the major Productivity Suite features. There is one catch however, it is FREE.  I can create different types of online documents and work on them in real time with other people. The most convenient thing is that all documents are stored and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

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