Module 3

Same But Different

On Google Docs

I have heard a lot about Google Docs over the years, especially as being touted as the Microsoft Office Killer. I hardly use Microsoft Office, because I use iWork on a Macbook Pro most of the time. I am however familiar with Office and Google have obviously tried to make their UI familiar to Office users. Which is probably fair enough, and makes it easier to use. I found that I could create a document and insert images and tables with ease, and without having to go to help, or watch the video tutorials. I really like the cut down, minimal feature set, and the way that accessing resources on the web is integrated right into the dialog boxes and such. I like the collaboration capabilities, especially if one’s organisation is set up properly to use Google Docs. I would be a bit hesitant of trusting Google Docs with highly sensitive information, say student files etc., but for just creating basic worksheets, and for sharing them with colleagues it would be really beneficial.

I am not sure that Google Docs would be greatly beneficial in the classroom, because the current systems for word processing or spreadsheeting are adequate and work well. An advantage Google Docs has is the ability to run in any web browser on any computer capable of running a web browser, and that is connected to the Internet. This makes it easier for students (and staff) to work on stuff at home, if they need or want to.

I will not, I don’t think, switch any time soon to Google Docs over my Mac and iWork, which is really simple to use. It is also needless to say a lot more powerful and feature-rich than the online equivalent. However, as technology advances, the gap between the two platforms will diminish. At the present, sharing is accomplished through the use of a shared network drive, but my school is implementing moodle for the purposes of collaboration. Perhaps we could look at Google Docs as well.

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