Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Google Docs

Google Documents (Docs) was launched several years ago and is one of the original “cloud” applications.  By “cloud” I mean that unlike Microsoft Office, which stores your files on your hard drive, Google Docs stores your files on the internet or “The Cloud.”  This has its drawbacks, for instance the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs are all limited, you won’t find as many features as you would a full-fledged program.

But the upsides are tremendous. Google Docs can be edited on any machine that has internet, they can be viewed by multiple users and their contents can be published as websites and easily embedded into a blog or website.  I have used Google Docs to collaborate with other people, I send them a link to the document and ‘invite’ them to work on it with me, and we are able to work seamlessly at the same time.

Also useful is the “forms” feature.  Create a form and link it to your website, students or parents fill out the form and their answers are automatically dumped into a spreadsheet. This translates into online quizzes, tests, and surveys that are easy to create and easy to embed into a website.

The applications are numerous, the least of which is the ability to have access to documents on any computer with internet.  I like to keep my lesson plans, resumé, and sub plans backed up on Google Docs, just in case I should need them.

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