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For more info, including some additional resources and guidelines for using Google Docs, click here.
Recommendation: Try Google Docs!!
Why bother? Easy to use. Reliable, accessible. Good for joint planning, collaborative work. Many potential educational uses - esp. well-suited for student collaborative projects.
The following lists of features are intended to help you decide how to use this free resource most effectively. Please suggest additional items for these lists of Advantages, Educational Uses, or Disadvantages by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" just below this posting.
Advantages: Free and relatively easy Web-based tool for creating and collaboratively editing documents online. Resulting documents are similar to wikis, blogs, but easier to edit and share, publish or hide. With Google Docs, previous versions of the document are always accessible and it is easy to see who made which changes. However, the most easily visible version is the aggregation of all previous changes, completely hiding the process by which it was developed. First time users can be assured that they do not need to worry about making mistakes - no matter what they do, the favorite contributions of each collaborator are always still accessible and can be retrieved and displayed elsewhere or re-integrated into the document. It is relatively painless to establish the online account required for active participation. There seems to be no inappropriate use of the info that must be given to obtain the account. Google's financial success makes it likely that documents created by using this service will not disappear and neither will the service.
Educational uses: Many. Especially nice for student teams in which someone is likely to worry that his/her contributions will not be matched by comparable work done by each team member. At any time, anyone who has permission, can easily view previous versions and see who has made which contributions.
Disadvantages: This tool keeps improving but some functions still work with unpredictable delays. The results of some kinds of attempts to change formatting can also be difficult to predict. Many people who begin working on a Google Docs document for the very first time find it a little more challenging than ideal to understand and follow the directions that are automatically sent as part of an invitation to become a "collaborator" on a Google Docs document. Establishing another online account - with user name and password - is required for active participation.
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