Google Docs (Click here to go to the Google Docs sign-up page)


What is it?

Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered byGoogle. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Google Docs combines the features of Writely and Spreadsheets with a presentation program incorporating technology designed by Tonic Systems. Data storage of any files up to 1GB each in size was introduced on January 13, 2010. (from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Docs) Follow this link to get an overview about how Google Docs can be used in the classroom: https://docs.google.com/View?docid=dcdn7mjg_72nh25vq


Google Docs in Plain English.
The best orientation for understanding Google Docs (from Commoncraft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA): Watch this video to hear what teachers and principals have to say about Google Docs:(The following resources can all be found at the main Google Docs for Educators: http://www.google.com/educators/p_docs.html)



Google Apps:

(used with super-friendly permission: http://teachweb2.wikispaces.com/Google+Apps)

Google Apps for Education

Resources

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Free email - Gmail
  • Free messaging
  • Shared calendars
  • Collaborate in real time globally
  • Access documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and sites from anywhere, on any device.
  • Keeps data safe and secure
  • 24 hour help center
  • A unified email, chat, calendar, web docs, word process, spreadsheets, and other features all in one place also with a sophisticated system for sharing with other educators for review or collaboration makes this an invaluable resource.
  • Allows for online, digital portfolios to easily become the norm for authentic assessments.
  • Anti-spam/ anti-virus protection, document recovery, global scalability, and wonderful security are included.
  • Can access anywhere there is an Internet connection, even from Smartphones.
  • Provides 7GB of email storage per user and is free for school, universities, and 501(c)3 non-profit organizations.

Weaknesses

  • Students who already had their own Google Mail accounts were choosing to use them and not the Apps accounts set up for them.
  • Some students may not have high speed Internet or a computer at home.
  • Documents could be cached by Google even after user deletes them.
  • No means of restoring a mistakenly deleted Google account
    User has 5 days to create an account with the same name as a deleted account, which is an issue is the account if mistakenly deleted by the administration.
  • There is no means of migrating between user domains.
  • Deactivating a Google account bounces email, causing an issue when security requires temporarily disabling a student’s access to email.

Opportunities

  • You can increase your email system storage
  • Provide email accounts to alumni
  • Calendar function can be used for staff purposes, e.g., IEP meetings, counselors' student meetings, literacy meetings,etc...
  • For teachers who assign collaborative projects, it is extremely helpful when students can communicate with one another.
  • Using school email also teaches students that there is a difference between personal email and professional email, and the content of their school email should reflect a different tone and subject matter.

Ideas for the Classroom