How I use Google Docs

This post was written by Stephen Bishop

Ok, so I’m biased, but like the rest of us I also want things that will make by job easier and better. Here are the three Google Doc things I use the most.

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1 – Digital “Markbook” or “Booking Sheet” on Google Sheets (like Excel)

How often do I use? 

Daily

Why is it good?

  • It is always available at home and school – no usb etc!
  • It saves itself all the time – no losing anything, because if you typed it, it saves it.
  • It saves ALL the old copies of itself, so you can go back to older versions if you need to, or see what date you put things in.
  • It will let different people write in it all at the same time if they like (you can see them write in it!), so no “read only” problems.
  • You can put your Excel stuff in there in a couple of clicks, and the formulas etc will all work the same.
  • You can view it or make an entry easily on your phone – I often book out our Chromebooks when an idea pops up for them when walking to work!

 

How do I make a google sheet?

Click on the “New” button at the top left-hand corner of your Google Drive

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(Access Google Drive via RMUnify)

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2 – Student Work on Google Docs

How often do I use? 

Daily during coursework times (and similar times).

Why is it good?

  • Saved edits – it replaces “blue pen” editing with just “editing”, as the file will always show you who changed what when you open it – you can see all the edits instantly, and in a helpfully different colour!
  • You can put “comments” in the margin, which have a “resolved” feature which helps you and the students to keep track of if they have acted on them.
  • Students can’t “lose” it, fail to “save” it, or “leave” it anywhere.
  • It is always available at home and school – no usb etc!
  • It saves ALL the old copies of itself, so you can go back to older versions if you need to, or see what date you put things in. (This can also show when they wrote it, which can be revealing!)
  • It will let different people write in it all at the same time if they like, so students can collaborate or peer assess either in class or at home.
  • For students who are “challenging” to get work from, you can give them a shared doc to work in, and you can actually see them type the letters if needed.

Assessment for Learning and continuous feedback

I used this for all my (rather important) A-level coursework with Y13 last year and this year, and it was so wonderful to always have copies of everything, and to be able to see how the early draft was progressing – you get to know if what you have taught in class is making sense without waiting for them to finish and give it in with a couple of clicks. This makes the marking shorter and the grades better, because you can firm up or speed past stuff you’d planned to teach, and making the piece you finally mark come in in a better condition.

UCAS Statements

I’m also using this for UCAS statements. It’s SO good to be able to always have a copy, and so see what (if anything) has changed at a glance without reading the whole thing again for every student.

How do I make a google doc?

Click on the “New” button at the top left-hand corner of your Google Drive

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How do I “share” it?

1 – DON’T SHARE unless you have discussed the process with me or an expert sharer!

2 – There’s a big “share” button in the doc – here you add email addresses.

3 – A safe and quick way is to put a doc in a Google classroom assignment to get your chosen group to all view it

3 – Homework Docs in Google Classroom

How often do I use it? 

Daily

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Why is it good?

  • Instead of having to reply to daily “I wasn’t/won’t be in lessons, what’s the work?” emails, they can get a one-line pointer to Google Classroom.
  • The work-losers and absent-and-less-keen students also get the class or homework, so everyone can always be up to date.
  • You can put out an extra thing that might be handy even after the lesson has ended, such a link to some new breaking news, or a great TV/iplayer programme that popped up the next day that would help them, or a piece of advice that came up when someone asked a good question after the lesson, and you wish everyone had heard the answer.
  • If using a Google Doc, if you need to change what you sent out to everyone, you can change the live Doc and so they all get the right info in the same file immediately, even if you have already “sent” it (no duplicates or “ignore last email” problems).

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