Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How I Use Google Docs

ABIT KT7 PC motherboard, large version, 13 Oct...Image via Wikipedia

Recently one of the computers in my house died. The motherboard is toast and needs to be replaced. Hopefully, everything on the hard drive will still be accessible once some parts of this computer have been rejuvenated. What if I had been in the midst of a huge assignment with everything stored on that computer? I would have been toast just like the computer is now.

Have you ever had the experience of working on a document on one computer and then needing to move that document to your home computer? I have had to email the document to myself as an attachment or save it on a memory stick.

This summer, I took an online class about Web 2.0 tools. Part-way through the class, I went on holidays. I took our laptop with me and simply continued to work on the class while on holidays. One reason that I could do this was because of something called Google Docs (Documents). Here is a video to introduce you to Google Docs.

Google Docs stores your documents online so that you can access them from any computer that has an internet connection. You can

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

keep the documents private so that you are the only one to view them. You can share the documents with a few others or with the entire world. As well, you can create a web page from a Google document (as I did with this survey of the type of tweets people use on Twitter:

Every day when I first log on to my computer, I go to Google Docs right away. I click on a page that I have created called Web 2.0 tools. I keep this document open in my tabs all day. I have all the sites that I visit regularly: my blog, Twitter account, email account, Google Reader, Flickr, etc. With one click, I am at the site. I don't have to sort through bookmarks, I just use this one page document.

I also use Google Docs when I am keeping notes for creating a blog post or writing a class assignment.

Two negatives I have found with using Google Docs are:

1. It doesn't work quite the same as Microsoft Word, the word processing program that I am most familiar with. It is more difficult to create tables with adjustable column and row size. It is more difficult to create links to websites or URLs. It's not impossible, just more difficult.

2. If the site for Google Docs ever crashed, I would be in trouble. It hasn't happened yet for me. It would be a good idea for me to follow Harold Jarche's suggestions for protecting the data that I store online (See his blog post here: I could save all my Google Documents as Word documents on my computer's hard drive.

I encourage you to try out Google Docs. Let me know what you think.
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