A Definitive Guide to Using Google Docs in the Classroom
- Feb 26, 2016
Google has strategically rolled out plenty of tools that have found usage in scores of platforms. These tools have had a massive impact on the education industry. With technology taking long strides in revamping the conventional methods of education to make it more accessible and comprehensible for all, Google has been a generous contributor in taking this initiative further.
Among the several tools that have been making their presence felt, Google Docs has quickly made its way to the classroom with its highly beneficial features.
Before we divulge some creative ways to employ Google Docs in your classroom, let’s take a quick look at what it is all about. Otherwise, it would hardly make any sense.
To put it simply, Google Docs is an online word processor that allows you to create and edit text documents as you would on any other word processing software. Additionally, it promotes real-time collaboration by enabling you to share access to the documents you create.
Getting Started With Google Docs
The following steps will guide you on creating your first document using Google Docs:
- To get started, you need to create a Google account.
- Once you’ve logged in with your unique ID and password, click on ‘Google Apps’ icon that appears in the top right corner of the screen.
- Now click on ‘New’.
- From the drop-down list, click on ‘Google Docs’.
- This will open a blank document which you can use as you would any other word processor. The next step is to rename the document. Click on ‘Untitled document’ and type in a name.
- Now you can share access to this document by clicking on ‘Share’ at the top right corner and enter the names or email addresses of those you want to share it with.
- After you have done this, click on ‘Done’ to save the changes. Now everyone you have shared this document with will be able to view, edit and contribute content to it.
- If you need to edit any section of the document and wish to add a comment along with it, you can select the section concerned and click on ‘Comment’ on the top-right corner, just beside ‘Share’.
You can also use other editing tools to make your document more complete and clear. Additionally, you can also view any revision history that has been made to your document.
Now that you have your basics right, it is time to find out how to use this powerful tool in the classroom to make learning more exciting.
Using Google Docs in the Classroom
Following are a few ways to implement Google Docs in the classroom:
- Collaborative Writing
This is highly beneficial for group projects. You Google Docs allows collaboration on a single document for a maximum of 50 contributors. So there is enough room for an entire class.
As your students work in groups for the completion of a project, each member can contribute to the document as and when required. This makes the entire work more comprehensive and eliminates the recursive element from the project. Since the entire process happens in real time, it promotes the concept of a shared workspace with live updating facilities.
Additionally, this eliminates the scope for any excuses for forgotten assignments. Since Google Doc is a cloud-based platform, it can be accessed from anywhere. All you would need are: Google ID and password.
- Go Paperless
Google has been the harbinger of change since its inception. And one of the most significant changes has been that of its initiative to make classrooms go paperless. With Google Docs, neither you nor your students have to lug back-breaking piles of notebooks filled with homework.
You can ask your students to write their homework on Google Docs and as soon as they finish, they can share access to that document with you along with editing privileges. As your students work on their homework, you can go over the documents and suggest edits that could enhance the assignments.
Grading assignments have never been easier than this. This makes the learning process more practical, quick and effective.
- Create Shared Presentations
You can create a presentation for your class using Google Docs on a chapter that you have recently taught in class. Let’s say your class comprises 25 students. Create 25 slides of facts on that topic, one for each student, and share that with your class. Now, ask them to come up with suggestions that can make the slides more presentation. These could be edits, additional information, a touch of creativity in some and so on. This could be a day’s homework.
The next day, you can bring in a projector and show the modified slides to your class. You can suggest your inputs wherever necessary. Other students can voice their opinions too. This will be an effective classroom discussion and interaction session.
- Research on Topics
Google enables you to conduct research right from the document itself. You can search for information via search and Google Scholar, images, quotes, and even look up words in the dictionary without even leaving the document.
For essays, you can ask your students to look up information o the topics and come up with fresh and comprehensive articles based on the data they find.
The information that is being added to the document from a reference will feature a footnote indicating the resource. This allows you to go through the contents in these and check their relevance in connection with the articles or the essays that your students have produced.
- Initiate a Chat
Google Docs, with its robust library of useful features, has introduced chat facilities as well. You can chat with anyone who is currently working on the document. For this, you can click on the chat bubble icon at the top of the page, right beside ‘Comments’. This will pen a chat box to start your conversation with anyone working on the document at that time.
While going through your students’ submissions, you can have a one-on-one conversation with them regarding the content of the document. Here‘s how you can start a chat.
- Go Through Revisions
Every edit you or anyone makes in the document is saved. Therefore, you view the entire revision history of the document. To do this, you can click on ‘File’ at the top-left corner and then click on ‘See revision history’ from the drop-down menu.
A list of all the changes that have been made to the document will be displayed on the right-hand side of the document. Each of these is color coded depending on who has made the changes. Clicking on each revision history will reveal who has made that particular change.
- Create a Quiz
You can also open up Google Forms to create a list of multiple-choice questions and share that with your students for a quick quiz session. This could be a surprise test in class to assess how much your students have grasped.
You can then grade the quizzes and send across the results to your students. You can ask your students t sign into their accounts with a unique identifier so as to protect their answers. This way, the answers and the results will remain private. Here‘s a quick guide.
With new features being added every day, Google Docs is a constantly evolving suite. It has the potential to make learning more fun and engaging. There are a whole lot of possibilities to explore with Google Docs. All it needs is your imagination and creativity. So start right now.
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