We all know that Google Docs is a powerful word processing tool and one of the main core applications of Google. It allows students the opportunity collaborate in live time from any device, and from any location, in addition to constantly making learning visible. Google Docs is probably one of the most used G-Suite apps in the educational domain and one that offers many features above and beyond our old traditional ways of digitizing text. Strong, powerful, and coherent text is always important- don’t get me wrong- but there are always ways to increase and promote student creativity within Google Docs.
#1 Font Selection:
Google currently has over 600 fonts- say what?!? Using Times New Roman or Arial all the time sure can get boring and repetitive! Don’t even get me started about Comic Sans; the reigning overused font in teacher history! It is time to spice things up a little in your Google Docs and think outside the box! As a teacher, I constantly allow my students to select their own fonts based on the style of our writing assignment and our intended audience. If we are doing a letter writing assignment the students have many handwriting fonts to select from, if we are building newspaper articles there are typewriter fonts, and if we are doing creative writing stories there are many unique fonts to suit the characters and descriptions. I encourage teachers to allow students a little creative freedom when it comes to selecting their font for any given assignment or project. The personal touches with font can make a huge difference!
#2 Supporting Images:
Google Draw is a very underused feature of Google Docs and it is ten times more powerful than traditional “paint” programs. In my middle school classroom, I often include two components to writing assignments- one for the text itself and one for a supporting image using Google Draw. The imagination and originality that you see emerge with Google Draw is extremely powerful! It allows students another opportunity to express themselves and to communicate their ideas. The design tools in Google Draw are universal to many different graphic design programs and teaches students digital proficiencies that are vital to our modern digital world. Incorporating Google Draw opens up another channel for creativity and one that many students thrive upon to express themselves.
#3 Original Titles:
Google Draw doesn’t just start and end with supporting images! I frequently use Google Draw in my classroom to help students create elaborate titles to entice their audience! I often encourage students to design an exciting title in the Google Draw feature to showcase elements from their personal work to engage and entice the reader. I teach students how to search transparent images with Google filters, how to layer designs, and how to connect with their viewer through visual displays. These extra creative features in Google Docs encourages students to think in new ways and to elaborate upon their ideas contained in the text. It often even encourages students to reread their work and spend more time polishing before submitting. Enabling additional avenues for creativity in the classroom helps promote student advocacy and yields assignments that you never even thought possible! It is truly amazing to see what students come up with on their own when given a little flexibility and choice within their Google Docs. Test the student creativity in your classroom- I dare you!
Certified Google Innovator
Middle School Teacher & Technology Enthusiast
Saanich School District 63
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