I have many students in my sixth grade class that enjoy working together on projects. However, a problem arises when the bell rings and the students have to save their work. The next day, they come back but the person whose account they used to log onto the computer is absent. What to do, what to do? This is where the online Google Docs app comes in handy. Students can all collaborate online, in real time, from any machine with internet access. Let’s say, three students start a wonderful presentation at school using PowerPoint. They are very skilled in their use of the software. They have multimedia, and it looks really great. However, only one person can work on it at a time. If all three students sign up for a free Google account, they can all collaborate on the project from home. The best part is, all of their work that they did in PowerPoint is not lost. Google Docs allows you to import existing presentations into the online software. They can still create their beautiful presentation without worrying about one person being absent. Even if every student in the group is absent on the day that the presentation is due, they can share the presentation with the teacher through Google Docs and it can be submitted electronically. That is one way to begin a paperless classroom. The teacher can then grade it and make comment right in the presentation with out using any paper.
One of the students in the group is very into the web and web 2.0. She has a Pageflakes page complete with RSS feeds, YouTube videos and a flake for her Facebook account. With Google docs, she can get an embed code for their presentation, and use the Anything flake to embed their project onto her Pageflakes page. Now their project from science class has gone global.
Google Docs also eliminates the need to carry around flash drives and other portable media storage devices. Since everything is saved every 5 seconds in Google. The students can work on a presentation at home, and then continue it at school by signing into their Google account. As teachers, that makes our life much easier. It takes many excuses for why things are not submitted out of the equation. What a cool idea.