Posted by: lindapemik | November 1, 2010

A new attraction to googledocs

It’s been one of those weeks again– travel and bad internet connections getting in the way of my learning.  I got home on Saturday and spent most of  the day viewing the Elluminate session and reviewing my notes and reflecting.  Sunday I played in the sandbox, exploring the Web and trying some new apps on for size.  After all that I am more confused than ever.  In particular I am still struggling to process Alec’s question, “Do PLE’s (Personal Learning Environments) challenge or augment what we do in formal learning environments?”

Since I have no answer to that yet and am in a learning swamp right now I am simply going to sing the praises of Google Docs.  Such a simple solution to some of the challenges that face us as a dispersed organization.  If more of us in our organization used this tool it could enhance our efforts to work collaboratively;  but don’t take it from me, check out the video:

When I went tomy  Google Docs I found documents stored there that I had long forgotten, some dating back to 2006 but nothing newer than 2009.  Why didn’t this tool catch on with me and my network?  I’m guessing that there are at least two reasons:

  • We often don’t  want to take the time to learn how to work differently
  • In Nunavut the unreliability of our Internet connections frustrates us to the point that we don’t even want to try technological solutions that are web dependent

Well, it is 2010 and I am going to try using Google Docs again and encourage my coworkers to join me in the experiment.

Steven Downes, wrote recently, “it remains a source of wonder to me that when people talk about “change” and “reform”, they always mean, of other people”.  He was referring to change in the educational system, however there is a basic human truth here that can be applied to whatever change we are trying to promote.  The change starts with each of us, one person at a time.  Like someone else said “we must be the change we want to see“.

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Responses

  1. My whole school has just migrated to Google Docs- staff and students! The students are making a rapid transition and the staff, well, they have a ways to go.
    We don’t often have the challenges of an intermittent Internet connection, but I bet even with those minor obstacles, the collaborative teaching, and learning environments in which Google Apps excels will be worth the occasional hiccup. Keep us informed about how it’s going.

  2. I actually just conducted a tutorial in my morning class about using google docs…it’s definitely an amazing tool. Right now we’re just working with the collaborative editing section (to keep it simple), but the students were ‘wowed’ at the possibility of a paper-less classroom.

    http://www.wiziq.com was where I first dipped my toes into the wonderful world of google docs, and I recommend it to any educator.

    tara

  3. I’d really be interested in how it works out this time, Linda. I have been really trying to push my colleagues in the use of Google Docs – it just makes sense, but change is slow.

    Let us know.

  4. Like Alec, I’m a big fan of Google Docs, especially Google Forms! But, living in an area with poor internet connectivity – in my case, Hanoi, Vietnam – makes it frustrating at times. I haven’t spent enough time experimenting with Google Gears, but that might be a solution for (y)our internet woes.

    • thanks for the tip I’ll check it out.

  5. An even better tool than Google Docs is Dropbox. If you haven’t tried it, give it a chance. It’s more reliable than Google Docs, plus it seems to fade into the background and let me get on with my work easier. I highly recommend it!

  6. This is so weird. I, too, just started playing around in Google Docs because of the recommendation from this class… and I found documents already in my account that I supposedly put there years ago. I have no recollection of doing that… spooky.

  7. I am currently experimenting with Google Docs in my world too. I recently created a form to send to our Saskatchewan Career and Work Education Executive members regarding some information I was asked to collect for a recent conference. In addition, I have attempted to create a Google Docs spreadsheet for information I am gathering from Career Development Teachers. My traditional approach would be to email the teachers then compile the spreadsheet myself. I am trying Google Docs in attempt to make my life easier, AND to model an example a process for sharing.

    • I’d be interested in how this turns out for you. Getting a commitment to enter their own data really would save a lot of time. As Alec says we need to keep on trying!

  8. Oh – I forgot to say thanks for the video clip. I am going to show this one to staff. 🙂

  9. I too was surprised to find old Google Docs waiting for me! And also asked myself why I stopped using it… my answer was that the “traditional” word doc on my desktop always seemed to come to my mind first.

    Thanks!


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