How I Use It
Students are issued accounts in 5th grade. I am the technology teacher, so we spend much of the first 2 quarters using class time to learn all the types of documents that can be created. Students create, share, use chat, collaborate.We also share forms with the students.
Once they are proficient. Subject teachers give them assignments that can be created and shared in Google Docs. We progress at each grade level on how much they use Google Docs. 8th grade uses it almost exclusively.
As teachers we use it to share all important internal documents and forms. We share lesson plans, and ideas. We use the calendar for meetings and events. We even set up a calendar this year for Parent Teacher Scheduling so no one over lapped. It worked out wonderfully.
We send out surveys using forms. We also keep track of all Act 48 hours using forms, so if anything gets lost at the PA Dept of Ed, we have a back up copy of everything.
I have found Google Docs to be invaluable in many areas of education where we need to use technology. It has brought enthusiasm for projects back for students. Turning in homework online has decreased the amount of missing assignments much higher than I had anticipated. I am asked daily, "Can we work on this at home?" There is more cooperation on collaborating for projects or papers when they can use Google Docs.
From a teacher standpoint, I don't know how I taught before. I can share documents with students on the weekend, so the are ready for them on Monday. I grade assignments online. I carry (and lose) less papers. I am the technology teacher, so we use cross curriculum projects and assignments. The subject teachers can see student progress in all stages not just the finished product. Teachers can critique and praise the work directly from their computer without printing all the documents in the lab.
I am still learning all the intricate aspects of Google Docs. This is our second year using it in grades 5-8 and I will never go back to just using Microsoft Office products.