Google Docs is a freeware web-based office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows teachers and students to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users in which documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users simultaneously. Google Docs combines the features of Writely and Spreadsheets with a presentation program incorporating technology imported through the web interfaces via email. Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes.
Kelly Jordan demonstrated how she used Google Docs with her grade 2 students in a lesson about dinosaurs which can be viewed via this link. She states “I set up a Google Doc with a series of questions about the dinosaur Cretaceous Period. Students worked on different computers to answer these questions using an information website. Their job was to find a question, locate the answer on the website and type in the answer on the Google Doc.”
She found the following benefits from this activity-
– Students learnt new technology skills to navigate and operate Google Docs.
– It is a great way to demonstrate research skills and strategies.
– Students worked on their own computers but collaborated together.
– It is an authentic method of teaching students about not believing everything you read on the internet.
– Students transfer their knowledge in various subject areas.
– Students experience the power of collaboration and it allows them to break down geographical barriers.
Google Forms has been added to the Google Docs suite. Google Forms is a tool that allows collecting information from users via a personalized survey or quiz. The information is then collected and automatically connected to a spreadsheet with the same name. The spreadsheet is populated with the survey and quiz responses.
“Comet2011” on this website suggests incorporating Google Forms into the classroom by allowing students to create their own questionnaire about a unit of work. This has the benefit of extending or strengthening their understanding of creating effective questions. Students can then complete other students quizzes to boost their understanding again.