Friday Freebie: I'm Loving Google Docs!

Our high school currently has a one-to-one netbook program and it's going great. Teachers are able to create engaging lessons embedded with technology and students have ubiquitous access to technology all day long. Right now, we're using Dell 2100 Latitude netbooks running Windows 7, but are very seriously looking at moving to Google Chromebooks next year.

The Chromebooks work entirely on the new Chrome operating system, Chromium, All work is done in the cloud, most of which takes places within Google's own programs. And the flagship program is GoogleDocs. With GoogleDocs you create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and drawings.

When I first used these tools years ago, I found them rather simplistic and didn't think I would ever use them as a primary productivity tool. Well, since I've previewing the Chromebooks, I've been using GoogleDocs quite a bit and I'm loving it!

Today, I'll focus on creating documents. (I'll blog about their new presentation tool soon!) They've made a lot of improvements to their word processing tool and, to be honest, it's more than powerful enough to do almost all the word processing I'll ever have to do. I mean, sure Word has a lot more bells and whistles" but I rarely use much of what Word does.

With GoogleDocs, you have lots of control over the font (size, color, etc.) There are only 19 fonts to choose from, but come on, who really needs more than that to choose from? There are formatting options like bullet and number lists and the "normal" paragraphs controls like indention and line spacing. You can insert images from your computer or from a URL, or you can perform a Google image search without ever leaving your document! You can also upload directly from your free Picassa account or search through Google's stock image library. You can't do that with Word.

You can create tables, equations, and a table of contents. There are header and footer options as well. And, with one click you can translate your entire document into any of over 50 languages!

Saving occurs automatically and Google saves every version of your document making reverting to an earlier version a snap. You can, of course, easily share your document with others. If you simply want them to have a copy, you can email it as HTML, Word, or a pdf. Or, you if they have a Google account, you can share editing rights with them!

If they join you in the editing process, you can see their editing in real time. As they type, you see their additions "live"! If you need to "talk" to them during the editing, simply open the chat feature and a chat window appears to the right of your document.

As you can tell, I'm really enjoying using GoogleDocs. I can really see myself using more and more as my primary word processing productivity tool. Hope you will too!

Here's a link to a "public" document I created that you can visit and add to!


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Jacqui said…
I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Google Chromebook. It seems like a great approach that hasn't caught on as it should.

Great overview of Google Docs, too! I'm the tech teacher at a K-8 school and we're just adopting Google Docs. I think I'm going to love them.

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