Friday, January 7, 2011

Google Docs

Google has many exciting tools that I have only begun to explore. I used to be apprehensive of saving my documents online and felt more secure and more in control by keeping them on my computer and backing them up to an external hard drive. Then a friend of mine showed me a trick for sharing Google Docs without allowing others to edit and I was hooked. It always seems that just when I believe that I have a handout perfected for a class, I notice a mistake or a student asks a question that shows the document needs further revising. If you use a program like Moodle or a web page that requires constant uploading and downloading of revised documents, you know there is always the chance that you will forget to upload the correct one or simply lose time making the corrections. I learned that if you change the sharing options to "anyone with this link" can view (leaving the "edit" box unchecked), you can just post the link to the Google Doc to your site. You can easily make revisions to the document without having to upload and download new items and no one can edit your document, only view it. Since it is web-based, I don't have to be concerned about what program the kids have at home and feel that I have to save to a more universal PDF format. While Google Docs may not have as many bells and whistles as the full Microsoft Office program, it has saved me a lot of time when it comes to sharing curriculum materials and lesson plans with co-workers and students.

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