Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Comments in Google Docs

I should have known this already, but I stumbled onto this by accident the other day and I thought I would share it with you in case you didn't know it either.

Our school has recently moved to Google Docs.  Microsoft Word is a better program, but it costs more and that is one area our school has decided to save money.  The school bought every student a Google Docs account to make up for it.

Now Microsoft makes a more powerful program with Word.  If you are into formatting your document with columns and tables, you can't beat Word.  That said, if you are into sharing, Google docs is boss.

My students open up their Google Docs and they see a file (sorry - the Google term is "collection") that I made for them.  I can drop any handouts or guidelines I want for them.  Since I have the collection shared with all my students, I drop it once, and they all have it.

Google Docs also saves every few seconds.  This means no more losing papers.  Not to mention that since it is in the cloud (whatever that means), it is available to the student on any computer with internet access.  No flash drives or e-mailing needed.

The best feature is what I discovered recently (I'm feeling a bit slow for it taking so long).  I knew I could write on my student's papers, but I just figured out how to make comments.   There are two ways.  One just puts comments on the side of the screen.  Not very helpful for making specific comments on specific words or phrases.  The other way is to highlight the questionable material and right click it.  Then choose Comment.  It will highlight the words in yellow and I can write a comment on it.  That way when the student pulls up the paper, it looks like this:


When the student clicks the highlighted words, the comment made turns orange and larger so that they can find it easier.

It is so much easier than trying to make corrections on a hard copy print off (don't get me wrong, there is still a place for hard copies).  I don't have to get the corrections done in that class period for a student to be able to get that paper back to work on it that night.  One of my students today got checked out early.  I just told him to check his paper that night for what to correct.

Another benefit to Google Docs is that it is easy to annoy students.  I have a good student in class who is a Duke fan.  I keep turning his words Carolina blue or adding a tar heel logo to his paper.  Why?  I'm just annoying.

Go Heels!

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