If you are one of the schools (I know of more than a few) that are using Google Apps for Education (Google Docs), then you might be pleasantly surprised at the capabilities and power lurking just beneath the surface of those apps….
If you are one of the schools (I know of more than a few) that are using Google Apps for Education (Google Docs), then you might be pleasantly surprised at the capabilities and power lurking just beneath the surface of those apps. I recently attended a Google Apps for Education Summit in Kitchener, and there were many great sessions conducted that attested to the potential use of these tools within an educational environment.
The first I want to mention was at the end of the weekend (and thus freshest in my mind), entitled “Google Docs – The Ultimate Workflow Applications Suite”. The session was designed to illustrate features found in google docs that assist in the process of content creation, publication, and collaboration. Our very capable instructor (Ken Shelton) led us through 2 main parts:
Staying within the document while accessing external resources – How many times have you written a document – even within Google Docs – and gone out to your browser, searched for an image, downloaded or copied the image, and then pasted it back into your document? Google apps enable access to the search and embedding of an image all from within the menus and interface of the application. Talk about saving key strokes! Ken went on to show how to get easy ‘inline’ access to online references using the Tools, Research menu item. You can access and search through online dictionaries, article citations (with automatically generated footnotes!), maps, images, videos, quotations.
20 Slide Collaborative Presentation – from scratch – in 15 minutes – While I’ve seen multiple users in a classroom working on the same Google presentation – in of itself impressive – Ken notched this up by showing us how to do this on somewhat of a whim:
- with little preparation (numbering off participants as 1, 2, 3… )
- no requirement for participant login, no requirement for a google account
(Share > Who has access > change > anyone with the link > Access > Anyone, no sign-in required)
- how to get past looooong URLs when sharing the location of the presentation and more (using the Google URL shortener.) Great stuff for when your instructional time is limited.
These few items alone can go a long way in increasing the speed and utility of Google Docs within your class environment. Give them a try!