February 24, 2021

Google Workspace for Education: Google Docs for the Novice

Julie Jensen

Learning and Innovation Manager


Have you ever heard, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now? This is also true with implementing technology tools into your classroom.

Have you ever heard, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now? This is also true with implementing technology tools into your classroom. If you consider yourself a novice, you can quickly grow into a competent tech-user soon after you start.

You probably already have the safest and most versatile tools waiting for you: Google Workspace for Education (formally known as G Suite for Education). If you only used the tools in Google Workspace and team these tools with what you already know about quality instruction, you will quickly gain the confidence to apply these tools into your lessons. 

Hands typing on keyboard to navigate to Google Workspace for Education

Below is a list of several robust options within Google Docs. If you are not familiar with these tools, open a Google Doc and try them. Whether you find a use for the tool or not, show each to your students. They might find the one connection to make transferring thoughts to text possible. 

  • Voice typing: Tools > Voice Typing > Click to speak
    No keyboarding skills required. This one tool is a game changer for many purposes: primary students can watch their spoken words become text, learners can translate spoken word to text from one language to another, researchers can restate into their own words and students who struggle with processing can say it. 
  • Version history:  File > Version History
    No more copies of copies and wondering which is the correct one. On one Document, writers can view version history to see their writing process from the beginning. Writers can name versions and even restore them while never losing any part of their writing.
  • Linked objects:  Tools > Linked Objects
    If you find you have multiple files, like Google Slides and Sheets, that center around the same topic, you can link them all to one Doc to quickly view and update charts, tables, slides and drawings.  
  • Make available offline: File > Make Available Offline
    No Internet? No problem, as long as you have opened the document and requested to make it available offline. From that point forward, this document can be accessed with or without the Internet. When the Internet is reconnected, the document syncs the updates. 
  • Personal dictionary: Tools > Spelling and Grammar > Personal Dictionary
    Tired of your name always being underlined in red? Add the correct spelling of your name or any words not found in spell check to your Personal Dictionary. No more red lines (unless you have a typo). 
  • Compare documents: Tools > Compare Documents
    Working in one document, users can compare the current document with another document in their drive or shared with them. This will create a third document that shows suggested edits. 
  • Citations: Tools > Citations
    Writers can select citation styles of MLA, APA or Chicago to add to their writing. Pair this with Google Classroom Originality Reports for a powerful combination.  
  • Explore: Tools > Explore
    Within the document, writers can seamlessly bring a search to them. They can explore their own Google files, the web, images and more. If a resource is used, there is an option to click and cite that source as a footnote in the document. 

After you and your students have used and discovered which tools are preferred, using the technology quickly becomes second nature and the learning of the topic becomes first.


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