Google Docs have been around for about five years now and it “…is a free, Web-based office suite and data storage service offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users” (Wikipedia)
I originally found Google Docs to be very convenient to be able to have access to my files on multiple computers. As I have experimented with them more, I have found them to be extremely useful in an educational setting. I have used them as both a teacher and also as a grad student.
Note that once you create a document you can keep it private or make it public. If it is public you can restrict who has access and whether the user can view, comment or edit.
Uses and benefits for teachers:
- Store lessons in the cloud for editing and access anywhere
- Use Google Forms for simple surveys and question submissions from students
- Have students complete collaborative assignments with ease
- Create handouts and share the link with students rather than printing or attaching/posting it
Uses and benefits for students:
- Ability to work with classmates on a document in real-time
- No need to email work back and forth – just share the link with group members
- No need to send out new drafts because any updates will automatically appear
- Impossible to forget your work at home
- Document auto-saves to avoid losing any updates
- Can highlight and Add Comment similar to Word
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, check out this tutorial video (note that there is a brief commercial at the start of the video):