Well, at long last, here we are … the final week of the Try-a-Tool-a-Week challenge! It's been a lot of fun. Over 700 teachers signed up to receive weekly emails offering quick-start tips about a new free tool to consider trying in their classrooms and teaching practices.
During the stretch of March through May, our Week 1 tool, Socrative, garnered over 60 comments! Many other tools received dozens of comments. I guess three full months was a bit long, as interest waned as the weeks rolled by. Of course, not all of the tools were applicable to all grade levels either. In any case, it has been a fun learning experience for hundreds of teachers. I thank you all for your eagerness to learn and explore new free web apps and share your experiences!
Now for our final tool: Google Drive/Docs! A couple of years ago, Google redefined “Google Docs” under the name “Google Drive”, as they sought to emphasize the utility of cloud storage in addition to the functionality of the Office-rivaling document tools that they had been offering for years.
One of the real stand out functions of Google's word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation file tools is the ability to invite any other Google account owner to collaboratively edit a document with you. This is a powerful function and teachers and students have been taking advantage of it for years now!
You will need a Google account to do this, so if you don't have one, you'll want to use this link to set one up using your existing email account, or this link to create a Gmail account and get started. Of course, if you are in a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) school, your existing email account may already provide you and your students with access to the rich quite of free tools Google offers.
This quick video shows how to use Google Drive to share and collaboratively edit documents:
Next, here are a number of article in which educators discuss their use of this powerful free functionality from Google:
- This is a great set of slides offering 34 different ideas: 34 Interesting Ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom
- 4th Grade Teacher Jenny Maehara writes about using Google Drive for professional development and other teacher collaborations in, “Google Drive + Teacher Collaboration = Love”
- High School Teacher Matt Miller shares 50 Collaborative Google Apps Activities
So go check out Google Drive and find friend or student to test the collaborative editing with! After you do, please do comment below and tell us about your experience, so you'll have a chance at winning one of our giveaways when we award them next week!
About the Challenge:
The Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge started March 1st. Every Sunday through the end of May we're publishing a new web page with a new, awesome free tool to try. Everyone who provides their name and email address (click here to open the Challenge introduction page and SIGN UP) will get an email providing the link to the page. The goal is just to have fun and learn about these powerful free web applications for teaching and learning, and along the way you get the opportunity to win some giveaways we'll award at the end of the challenge to randomly selected participants! To have a chance a winning, just participate and share some observations about the tools you each week!