I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Rushton Hurley at the FETC Conference, “Google Docs and Forms in Gory Detail.” I enjoyed it and am feeling more confident than ever that moving to cloud computing and Google Apps is the right thing for my school district to do next year.
According to Rushton, “The collaborative nature of Google is why we all should switch from Microsoft to Google.” Another teacher said “Using Google Apps has been the best innovation in my career; there is not a more dynamic tool to impact student learning. ”
It will be a change for our folks, and change is always difficult. Users will have to make a shift when working with Google Docs…. Example: the home screen is just too huge. However, once you remember to switch to using the Google tool at the top to search for files, it’s not a big deal.
I look forward to working with teachers in my district. I learned some things that our teachers are going to love, such as how to make a self-correcting quiz, how to take advantage of the data in Google lists when using spreadsheet, and providing feedback to students that they cannot throw away after looking at their grade.
Some things I like about Google Apps (short list):
- I like the convenience of being able to work on a file on one device and open it up and continue on another without ever having to hit a save button!
- I can work on a project with someone who lives far away in real time.
- There is less email! Revisions are saved without having to send the latest version to other team members.
- One username and password for a whole slew of applications.
- Once you set up the people you want to share files with in a collection, you’re done; all you need to do to share with the same group is drop a file in the collection.
Some things I still need to figure out:
- How to work on Google Docs offline if I am in an area where I am unable to connect to the Internet. At the conference I used Evernote when the wireless was down, but I heard there was a way to use Google Docs offline.
- The toolbar options are limited when using a mobile device (tablet). There may be a way around that, too.