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2012-09-22 Google Docs for Educators

Mark Wagner, Ph.D.

This one free tool can revolutionize the way educators and students collaborate. Google Docs is an online office suite that allows you to create, edit, share, and publish documents, including spreadsheets and presentations. Real time collaboration is easy with simultaneous editing, comments (with discussion features), and a sidebar chat. Learn strategies for creating common assessments, sharing best practices, and capturing the conversation - even between meetings. Google Docs can even be used for data collection and analysis. Come learn the newest tips and tricks that educators and students can use right away.


What is Google Docs?

Interactive Overview (with Links to Help Pages):

  • Here's the "Core Magic" (or what makes Google Docs better than a desktop office suite):

Activity 1: How can Google Docs to collaborate with your colleagues (or students)?
  • Example answers include:
    • Using a document for shared assessments, lesson plans, meeting minutes, or other resources.
    • Using a presentation for shared materials - or presenting data.
    • Using a spreadsheet for sharing and analyzing data.
  • Create a document, presentation, or spreadsheet to illustrate your answer.
  • Add colleagues as collaborators.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.

Activity 2: Who are we? (Using Google Docs Forms)
  • No Google account is required!
  • Complete this demo survey.
  • View the results.
  • Demonstration: View summary.
  • Demonstration: Create and publish a chart.
  • Demonstration: Self Grading Quiz (Your answer to the last question on the survey will be graded!)

Activity 3: How can Google Docs Forms be used for Data Collection, Analysis, and Sharing?
  • Example topics include:
    • A Teacher (or Student) Observation Form
    • A WASC Data Collection Form
    • An Awards Nomination Form
    • A Professional Development Evaluation
    • A Staff or Community Survey
    • A PLC Team Meeting Form
      • Attendance
      • Team Smart Goal
      • Strategies and Action Steps
      • Responsibilities
      • Timeline
      • Evidence of Effectiveness
    • Advanced: A Self-Grading Quiz
  • Create a form for collecting data.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.
  • Send the "live form" link to colleagues so they can fill out your form.
  • Share the results with colleagues or publish them as a web page.
  • Optional: Create (and publish) charts of the results.

CHALLENGE Activity: Create a self-grading quiz!
  • Create a three question quiz using a Google Form.
  • Solicit sample answers from some colleagues.
  • Create an IF formula for each question to "grade" the question. (Each IF formula needs to be in a new column.)
  • Fill Down so that the IF formulas you've written can "grade" all the responses at once!
  • Advanced: Create a SUM formula to total up the total score for each person that took the quiz. Then create another formula to calculate the percentage. Finally, create a nested IF formula to convert the percentages to letter grades!
  • Time Permitting: Share your quiz with the lead learner. Links to the quizes will be added below.
  • SUPER CHALLENGE: With clever use of the Transpose and Filter functions, you can get your results to appear in a verticle format in a separate sheet (for one submission at a time). This way you can "print out" (to PDF or to Paper) an individual teacher's observation - or an individual student's quiz!

BONUS Activity: Using Google Docs and Forms on a Mobile Device (Time Permitting)

More Sample Uses of Google Docs:
Even More...

Getting Started
  • Create a Google Account (if you don't already have one).
  • Login to Google Docs
  • Click on the "New" button to the left and select the type of document.
  • Play... and return to this page for more information and tutorials. :)
  • You might also find the Google Docs Help Center (including getting started guides)... helpful. 
  • Learn more and stay up to date at the Google Docs Blog.

Reflection Activity
  • How might you use Google Docs in your role as an educator?