As a recent college graduate I remember all too well the stress and on going panic of college assignments, essays and preparing lesson plans. There were two things I depended on to get my work completed….my laptop (or computer) and my USB stick.
Our worst nightmare was having all our work complete and ready to print out when suddenly the computer screen goes blank, your work disappears and that ultimate feeling of doom and gloom sets in. You hide your head in your hands and fight back the tears. It has happened to all of us at some point throughout our college days.
If you are looking for a way to put Microsoft documents and USB sticks behind you why not try Google Docs out!
Google Docs put simply is an easy to use online version of Microsoft Office with some extra unique and exciting features! Google Docs allows you to create word documents, power point presentations and spreadsheets and store them online. This means that you can access your work on any computer that has internet access. Allowing you to eliminate any fear of your laptop or computer suddenly crashing along with all your work.
Benefits for College Students
- It’s free! If you are a student who has a Gmail account or a dcu.ie email address. You already have access to google docs.
- Prepare essays, power points and continuous assessments on google docs and access on any computer anywhere (as long as you have internet access). This is great for any students who do not own a computer or for any students who don’t fancy carrying your laptop around college all day.
- Saving in the Cloud: Writing important essays in Google Docs allows you to access assignments and papers from any computer, anywhere. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stuck in the library without my laptop, or only have my smartphone handy. With Google Docs, it doesn’t matter, because all of my assignments are stored in the cloud, meaning I don’t have to be attached to my laptop to get work done. This could save your sanity if your computer crashes and luckily, there will be no need to panic, because you know your work is tucked safely in the Google Docs cloud, instead of your dying hard drive.
- Preparing a thesis? Instead of attaching a copy of your work in an email and receiving feedback from your lecturer in a separate email why not use Google Docs sharing features? This allows you and your supervisor to exchange notes by interacting online also enabling your supervisor to type in their own notes on your thesis allowing you to edit your work sufficiently.
- Group Work: Group projects in college can at times be a nightmare. Collaboration is often done through text or facebook messaging. Combining all the work together or slides on a power point before a presentation was usually frantically done at last minute. With google docs groups are able to work together on the same presentation or project simultaneuosly. The discussion feature is great for this.
- Exam Time: most college students today are guilty of one thing: we don’t share enough and we don’t work together enough. Before exam time each year myself and a few friends would swap notes and work together with studying methods and sharing essays. However, this was done through email. Why not do this through real time? We tend to spend most of our time hooked to chat forums anyway so why not study using this technique too? Work with friends to take in-class notes on a single Google doc, allowing everyone to come away with a more thorough set of notes than they could have written individually. These notes can then be used to help everybody come exam time!
Check out this video to see the easy to use discussion and online editing and collaboration tools on google docs in action:
Benefits for Teachers and Student Teachers
- Collaborative Writing: This allows students to prepare their work online such as essays and projects and receive immediate feedback from their teacher. There is also a built in research tool allowing students to explore the online world for information and provide links to it on their document.
- Collaborative Brainstorming: this gives the students an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts online and to contribute to the lesson. Students can use shapes, arrows, text, and imported images to build a visual map for any task. The revision history uses colors to highlight and tracks changes to any Google Doc, making it easy to see what each student has contributed to the big picture.
- Quiz: You can create a simple quiz with a Google Form. Just create a quiz with a few multiple choice questions, take the quiz yourself to submit the correct answers, and pop a simple formula into the spreadsheet end to let the technology do the grading for you. Immediately publish the spreadsheet of results and teach students how to use the find tool to quickly find their score and significantly raise the stakes to increase student motivation. Please note: To avoid public humiliation and hard feelings make sure you require students to sign in with some sort of unique identifier that protects their privacy.
- Power point presentation and You Tube: Inserting youtube videos in a power point presentation using microsoft office usually means for most teacher inserting a link that they must press during the lesson. This link will then open an internet window and upload a clip from you tube. Google docs allows you to watch a you tube video without moving away from your power point presentation. It is very simple and a definite benefit for all teachers.
Check out this video to see the amazing ways you can create a power point presentation using google docs!
Google Docs in Education Slideshow: