Google documents have been a sanity saver for me, and I encourage all teachers and students to use them for as many assignments as you can. Some students will complain that Google documents, presentation, or spreadsheet are not as user friendly as the Microsoft office counterparts of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, but the positive aspects far outweigh any negatives (like less font or color choices).
Having students turn in assignments via Google docs has virtually eliminated the excuses of “I left it at home,” “I couldn’t open it at home because I have a different version of Microsoft office” or “I forgot to save my work.” Google docs constantly saves automatically for you about every three seconds, and in three years, I have never lost a document I have created. All you need to access your documents is the internet–no worrying about where to save it or carrying around a memory stick. How nice to be able to save all your lessons plans, rubrics, assignments, etc. in one place with a huge amount of storage space without taking up memory on your computer or storage devices AND having access to all these documents from any computer that has an internet connection? In addition, I can share documents, rubrics, assignment instructions, and calendars with my students quickly and easily by creating groups in my email contacts and hitting “share” – instantly sending the documents instead of attaching it to an email or posting it online somewhere for them to download or view. Even better, if students have a group project, each group member can log on to one document from each of their homes and can work on that document at the same time. This ability to simultaneously work on and view the same document from two different computers in two different locations eliminates the trouble of the group or partners trying to figure out a time and place to meet or organizing rides and schedules.
I also love Google docs because it makes it nearly impossible for me to lose any of their work because I can always use the search feature, type in their email address, and all the work they have ever submitted to me pops up. Each document has a time stamp, and I can access the revision history as well, so if something was due by midnight and they submit it at 7am the next day, I can see that. So, I have less clutter on my desk, and we waste less paper. Good for the environment, incorporating technology into the classroom, reducing their excuses about lost work, and my sanity. And if I didn’t convince you, check out this article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363957,00.asp . Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?
Mendleson, Edward. “Google Docs (2010).” 19 May 2010. Web. 22 November 2010.