Google Docs & Education
Google Docs has lot of buzz within the education community, and understandably so. Here are some resources to get you started.
Google Docs, Google Apps and Google Apps for Education ... the terms can get confusing. Google Docs, an online office suite, provides the basics. Google Apps can refer to Google Docs or to add-ons (free or paid) to the basic package. Google Apps for Education refers to using the Google Docs, et al solution in educational settings.
If you own an Android smart phone, there's a good chance you're already using Google Docs to manage your calendar and contact list.
Google Docs in Plain English
Google Docs may not have all the features of other office suits, but does allow easy collaboration & sharing. This easy-to-follow video explains how that works and why that is such a great advantage.
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An introduction and links to the hardware, software, solutions, training, support and additional resources offered by Google.
Shares teacher's experiences using Google Docs. An example, "I am having students use Google Documents to write their assignments and then share the document with me. I can grade them at school or at home and can type my comments right into their document."
A slide show listing interesting ways and tips for using Google Forms in the classroom. Compiled by Tom Barrett.
google docs 101
Josh Stumpenhorst, self described disruptor and 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year, has put together a getting started video, answering a lot of questions educators may have about using Google Docs, including the ad hoc, fill-in forms capability.
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A list of commonly asked questions about Google Apps for Education as compiled by Google. Covers topics including costs, security, getting started, and deployment.
There are a number of free and paid educator support add-ons. One that's been highly rated is Hapara's Teacher Dashboard. It provides an instructional management layer on top of Google Apps, giving educators a snap-shot view of student activity across Docs, Sites, Blogger, Picasa, Gmail, Google+ and Calendars. Not free, but may be worth the small investment in time saved & additional visibility.
Sometimes the best way to get started is to "just try something". Maybe a small collaborative project or a sign-up sheet. As the cost is free, you can experiment without a large commitment of time or money. If you run into questions, there is a multitude of help sites, forums, resources & videos on the Internet.