Tuesday, 15 January 2013

#15: Using Google Docs & Drive to do your planning

30 Days of Google series #15

Have you ever wondered if there is an easier way to do your daily/weekly/year planning and lessons than either writing them out by hand (worst scenario) or typing them out and keeping them on your own computer? One of the best applications to use for planning and preparing is Google Docs because you can then access your files from any computer as well as share them with anyone else who has access to the Internet. Amazing!


Distinction between Google Docs and Google Drive
Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides are known as productivity apps. They let you create different kinds of online documents, work on them in real time with other people, and store them in your Google Drive online — all for free.

How to plan a lesson using Google Docs
1. Firstly it is free. If you have a Gmail account you have a Google Docs account which contains a great selection of applications to use. Anything created using these applications can be saved in Google Docs and the finished products can even be downloaded as Microsoft Word documents should you so wish!
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 2. If you already have everything typed in Word or Excel etc. you can upload them to Google Drive. In that way you won’t have to carry around a flashdrive.  This means that everything you create will be available from any computer that you use and sign in to Google on.

3. If you want to create a lesson plan but you don’t want to make a template take a look at the templates supplied by Google. Just ask Google for ‘Google Docs templates and you’ll be taken to: https://drive.google.com/templatesThen be specific and ask for ‘lesson plans’. You will be shown a whole selection to preview and choose from. Once you have decided on one and click on it it becomes part of your Google Docs where you can customize it.


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Keep all your documents in a folder in Google DriveYou’ll want to keep all your documents together in a folder. You could create a folder called, for example, Grade 3 English. In that folder you could put all the documents you need – calendar, timetable, year plan, term plan, week plan and daily plan. You could add your classlists, all your wordlists and assessment rubrics/sheets etc.

a)  To make a folder click the ‘Add folder’ button at the top of Google Drive.


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b) To place the documents you have created into this folder find the document, add a check in the box, right-click on the document and choose Organise. This will show you the list of folders you have created. Choose Grade 3 English and your document will be added to the folder.


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Keep one another accountable 
The beauty of it is that you can share every document with your colleagues so easily if you wanted to. What I like about this method is the accountability it could bring because if everyone in Grade 3 shared their documents you could see at a flash who wasn’t keeping up etc. etc. It could be shared with your HOD and Principal as well. 

Use Google Drive offline when you are at home
It would be very easy to work at home or at school without using a flashdrive even if you didn’t have Internet. You can access Google Drive offline and work on it. Your computer will sync the next time you go online.   

So, without a doubt I would say this is the easiest (and cheapest) way for doing daily and weekly planning.

Further reading
a) Tuesday Tech tips - Ideas for using Google Docs

b) Below is an interesting collection of things you can do using Google Docs in the Classroom started by Nik Peachy using a Google Presentation . Click on the image to be taken to the original Google presentation.


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