What Can Google Docs Do For You?

create new doc

Those of you who’ve worked with me over the past few years know I’ve become quite a fan of our district Google Apps account and all it includes. I love the accessibility, the collaboration, and the flexibility. This morning while browsing my Twitter feed, I came across an article shared by Shawn Canady (@LebTechDirect) titled 40+ Google Docs Tips to Become a Power User. As I scrolled through the list, I found myself thinking of specific teachers or departments who would be interested in some of the tips on the list. Rather than risk missing someone, I thought I’d share the whole list with all of you. 40+ tips can take a while to read though, so to save you some time, I’ve highlighted a few, based on the people to whom I think they’ll appeal most. (I wasn’t able to link to individual tips, so you’ll have to scroll to find the numbers.)

If you’re fairly new to Google Docs… check out Tips 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 13, and 39. These are what I consider some of the basic features of Google Docs that make it so powerful. Learn to search for and insert images without leaving your document, perform basic edits on those images (again, without leaving your document), find different fonts, share your document, and download it in a variety of formats.

If you’re looking for ways to use Google Docs to provide feedback to students… check out Tips 9 and 10 to learn about adding comments and notifications to a document. This is a great way to coach students through a project – or to allow students to coach one another!

If you’re a Math teacher… check out Tip 21 to learn about the Equations Shortcuts.

If you’re doing scholarly research – with students or for a grad class… check out Tips 29, 30, and 31 to find out about citing scholarly articles, finding famous quotations, and creating footnote citations within Google Docs.

If you teach a World Language or work with English Language Learners… check out Tips 33, 34, and 40 which focus on Google Docs’ translation features as well as how to select a different language for your writing, allowing you to type in languages that feature different alphabets without the need for a special keyboard.

If you’ve tried Google Docs but found there was something missing… check out Tip 35 which introduces the “Add-ons Store”. I can’t guarantee you’ll find what you want, but there’s a good chance you might. The Add-ons Store features dozens of additional features you can use to amplify your Docs. Music teachers will find add-ons that allow you to edit and insert music notations. Math and Science teachers can find formula editors and graphing. Language teachers will find add-ons for accents. There are add-ons for creating bibliographies, mind-maps, flowcharts, and even a “rhyme finder”. If you’ve ever said, “I can’t use Google Docs because it doesn’t have (insert missing feature here), please take a look.

If you don’t yet have an MASD Google Apps account… email me to get started. Then head over to 40+ Google Docs Tips to Become a Power User. The clear descriptions and screenshots will help you learn some basics; and when you’re ready, will put you in touch with special features such as those described above.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What’s your favorite feature of Google Docs?


One thought on “What Can Google Docs Do For You?

  1. Andrew Irons September 28, 2015 / 10:14 am

    Google Docs can really help students by expediting the process. It used to seem as though it took hour upon hour to do research papers. Now, through Google Docs, the students have the information right at their fingertips, and can easily cite their sources with just the click of a button using the research tool found under the tools tab. However, the students still must decide what source they are going to use. I can only wish this would have been an option when I was in school. It is so easy, and makes learning more engaging and interactive.


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