Monday, October 24, 2011

Bouncing Into the 22nd Century by Embracing New Tools

What makes someone embrace a new technology tool?
Every two years my cell phone is eligible to be upgraded.  Each time I am forced to learn a whole new set of tools in order to communicate effectively with this new phone.  First came texting, then taking and sharing photos, and now with the release of iPhone4S, Siri!  
If educators would be forced to refresh and re-tool with instructional technology in the classroom every two years like we must with cell phone plans, we would be blazing trails into the 22nd century and beyond!
We all cling to the comfort of the old, afraid to drop the heavy old tools we are so familiar with and embrace a collaborative 21st Century tool.  By clinging to old technology and not venturing out to try new things, we become weighted down just like carrying a load of bricks where ever we go.  If we were to try to jump weighted down with bricks, we do not have the ability to leap for the sky.  
As an example, I took a bold new move several years ago when I abandoned my brick of MS Word and took my bold leap into Google Docs.  
It started after I had attended the ISTE conference and learned about this new tool several years ago.  I was at a meeting in school where most people were taking notes in Word, a few even with paper and pencil.  I jumped in with a new Google Doc and shared it with one of my colleague's. As the meeting progressed, we together took notes, added links, and even shared ideas by instant messaging on the side of the doc.  It ROCKED!  When I left the meeting, my notes were not only complete, but the doc was shared with all the people in the room! The days of attaching files and e-mail people are over! Everyone had the power to add more content to this document and the doc is always available in the cloud for everyone to access anytime.
Then and there I knew this was a game changer for workflow productivity.  The power of many brains on one document was revolutionary.  Imagine how teacher collaboration could be transformed if everyone were using Google Docs.

Taking that first step to incorporate a new tool into my routine is vital to continual growth and learning. I am constantly learning, unlearning, and re-learning so I can bounce higher and higher into the 22nd century!

I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and dropped the brick of MS Word and embraced Google Docs.  Letting go and re-tooling is a must.    


It’s up to you, are you ready to drop a brick and bounce into the 22nd century with with me?
-Ann Feldmann
 

74 comments:

  1. New tools can add interest and make a job more effective.

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  2. Google Docs has the potential to transform the way we teach and the way students collaborate with each other and with teachers. It provides secure access while allowing changes to be made whenever and wherever a person or group would like. I am excited to learn more about this transformative tool!

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  3. The question was asked about a week ago, why do educators take advantage of the tech classes and go back to their class and teach the same old way they always have? My answer then was maybe they are afraid of change or maybe they are afraid of technology. I know I am the latter. I also feel the reason we go back to our old ways is the fact that we are not required to use the new information. Our districts continue to hold on to the old ways even after spending the money to bring in the new tools. Until the districts throw out the old and require us to use the new teachers will always do what is comfortable.

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  4. Second attempt, not sure where th first post went to?

    As Ann said it is time to step out of my comfort zone. I do hope this is a more efficient way of communicating as I look forward to the disposal of MS Word.

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  5. I really look forward to learning more about google docs. I have done a little bit with them already and have found that they make collaborating with other teachers and even just taking notes so much easier.

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  6. I am TRYING to "let go of the old" and embrace new technology, but it really is going outside my comfort zone (for some things). I sometimes think teachers just use technology for the sake of using it... they could do it just as well or better without it. But, yes, I think everyone needs to learn about everything that is currently available to them and incorporate it "meaningfully" in their classroom if they can. I feel a little behind, learning about Google Docs, so here I am!!!

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  7. After taking the class on Basic Gmail. I was anxious to learn more so Google Docs seemed to be right for my next class. I do carry around many zip drives so looking forward to just having all docs online. Looking forward to learning more. Kim

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  8. Your assertion about how Google docs will help jump us into the 22nd century is valid. I am looking forward to learning how to use this new tool since our team is going to be using Google docs for our collaboration. I think it will be very beneficial.

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  9. I so agree that we all need to step out of our comfort zones and try new things, especially with technology in order to make out lives as educators more efficient and productive. I feel that there are so many possibilities with technology in the classroom, and we are only scratching the surface when it comes to students using technology for learning. I am on board when it comes to using and trying new pieces of technology wherever and whenever I can!

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  10. I wanted to learn about Google docs since last fall, when I discovered there existence at a Techie Tuesday! I am not always the best at incorporating technology, but am excited to learn about this and ways I can use it professionally and personally!

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  11. I have wanted to use Google Docs more for the past 4 years or more. A few years ago a few of my collegues and I tried. I will admit quite a bit of frustration using Google Docs b/c I know World inside and out. I think with the limited amount of "extra" time teachers have that is more the reason behind going back to the old than not wanting to embrace new technology. I hope that after this online course I feel confident enough to use Google Docs w/ my team and students in meaningful ways.

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  12. Clearly, Google Docs, or more precisely cloud based activities are a useful step up for many reasons. I am looking forward to using them. I DO still wonder about potential problems with security etc., but I suppose that is just part of the price of living in a highly developed society analogous to the theoretical danger we all face by dependancy on electric pumps to provide our water vs. the old hand pumps of a bygone era. I also take a bit of an exception to the basic tone of the article. It seemed pretty condescending to me. Not everyone is a technophile, and there is a heck of a lot more to quality teaching than using the latest gadgets.

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  13. One of my colleagues was thrilled with learning about Google Docs and all the possibilities. I'm pretty comfortable with Word so this is going to be out of my comfort zone to move away from this old technology. I'm eager to learn how Google Docs can be used to collaborate more effectively and how it can be used personally as well. I guess I'm ready to abandon the "brick."

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  14. The rate of change can be so overwhelming!What I need to see is how I can best use Google Docs to streamline communication with peers and how I can be creative with them in regards to my students. It seems to me that the best way for all of us to move ahead is to simply be required by our principals to implement them, with the promise of LOTS of support!

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  15. I too am eager to learn more about Google Docs. It seems like an effective way to work collaboratively with others. Hopefully it is easy to learn and user-friendly.

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  16. I am excited to learn about Google Docs, but I am also nervous. I think that one of the reasons many are hesitant is that we are not given the time to learn something throughly. When you are crunched for time, it's easier to fall back on what is familiar. Hopefully, learning this over the summer will allow me time to become familiar with the technology so that I can use it with my classes.

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  17. I am excited to learn about how to use Google Docs. I know it will help me personally organize my documents, which are everywhere, but I don't know how I'll use it with my students in the classroom setting.

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  18. Google Docs is an amazing way to collaborate with anyone. I liked the reference to always having to upgrade our cell phones and how it should be like that in the classroom. Things are always changing and it is our responsibility to change with them.

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  19. Phall July 10,2012July 10, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Technology has exploded over the last few years and we must grow with it. It is an awesome idea to create documents that can be saved through the web and not necessarily on my computer and having the ability to share with others and have their collaboration is also a great idea and much more efficient. I cant wait to see where this skill will take me.
    Patty Hall

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  20. I have been guilty of sticking to what feels comfortable to me and shying away from those things that seem confusing. I am excited to learn more about what is available and incorporate them in my everyday life. I have used Google Docs for the first time and I must say I was thrilled at how easy it was to share a lesson with a co-worker.

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  21. I love the idea of Google Docs. I am wary that my hard work will get lost somewhere and I won't be able to find it. In fact, this is the third time I am writing this comment because the previous two times I have tried to publish it just disappears. But I am still willing to give it a try.

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  22. I receive so much communication via Google Docs currently so I am looking forward to having a better understanding of how to use the product myself.

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  23. Having a document editor that I can access from my computer, smartphone, and tablet opens up an entire new world of possibilities. I'm looking forward to being able to sync my Evernotes to google docs. Currently the instrumental music department depends a lot on dropbox...switching over to google drive/docs won't be tough!

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  24. I have been giving strong consideration to uploading all of my documents from the clubs I sponsor to google docs. I think it may finally be time to take a leap of faith into google docs.

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  25. I have used Google Docs as a tool to keep track of things such as when I check out books my old math department all had the ability to go into the Algebra Books Google Doc and put in names of students who had checked the book out or delete a name if they got a book back so at the end of the year or semester we weren't all combining all of our random documents, excel sheets lists or however we each individually kept track. It was also nice when students changed classes. I have also used it with other teachers to compare averages. We were all able to go in and put our averages in and see others without all the emails and hassle of combining notes. I am nervous to take all of my documents for classroom activities and put them on there, but I think it will be very beneficial in collaborating with other teachers.

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  26. Change is always good! Some are more willing to learn what's "new," and hopefully those who are trying what's new will share how easy things are. Google Docs is something that I was a little hesitant in trying, but when I took a training, I was amazed at everything that could be accomplished through this. The sharing of documents is incredibly fast and will make collaborating with other teachers a piece of cake. I am looking forward to learning more and more about Google Docs.

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  28. April Buschelman's post:

    I too have been witness to the eye opening experience of using Google Docs for collaboration. As I work towards my EdD degree, I find myself amongst people of varying technological skill levels and different ages. I recently worked on a group project with people within my class and I created a Google Doc for us all to contribute to and a presentation for each of us to collaborate on. Google Docs proved vital to our project as my degree is completely online and the people in my group were from all over the United States and even one in England. The benefits of Google Docs are innumerable and i am looking forward with learning new ways to work Google Docs into my classroom. I have ideas in my head, ready to go, but I need more guidance in the process and creation of various documents beyond MS Word docs. As a math teacher, I am interested to see the different uses and hopefully provide another online tool for my students to access as a means of learning and online collaboration to take ownership in their learning.

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  29. I like the analogy to the cell phone- it is very appropriate. I think it is kind of like the implementation of the Macs though-- until you take away the old security and send some of us out there without a paddle we arent the quickest to try new things. I think that Google Docs are fantastic. I think they are useful in any arenas and I see the efficiency level multiplied. Our staff uses them a great deal and i think they are fantastic. I have not ventured out to use them with parents and students yet and that is something I would like to try and hopefully become successful at.

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  30. I agree with most of the posts on here about the advantages of using Google Docs. Like most teachers in the district, I just started using Google this last year. I like what I have learned so far, and look forward to learning more methods to make my life more organized.

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  31. I love Google Docs so far for specific purposes (notes, collaborative documents with colleagues, etc.). For student use, I wish that the technical aspects matched up when the documents needed to be printed (margins, headings, spacing, etc). I realize many things are going paperless, but we're not totally there yet and those issues will matter for kids in college and beyond. I think there's probably a way to do that, I just haven't figured it out. I'm looking forward to learning more!

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  32. Haha! I laughed when I read the cell phone analogy. I have to admit I am quite attached to my "antique" cell phone, much to my husband's dismay. I was one of the last people on the planet to learn how to text and now I'm supposed to upgrade to a smart phone that is way smarter than me? As always, Ann has an excellent point, that if I don't move on with technology, I will "not have the ability to leap for the sky". While this isn't always the most important thing for me personally, it is something I want for my students. I like Google docs, have a much better understanding of them after this year, and can collaborate with others. Now, I just need to make that final leap and create them myself so that I am no longer just dipping my toes into this newer format.

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  33. I like the ease of sharing in google docs, but I like all the formatting options in word. I'm anxious to see what new formatting tools I can pick up in google docs 101.

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  34. I really like google docs and I really find it east to use. I think that in a classroom it is a great resource and will come in handy when all school's switch to a one-to-one basis. This is also a great way to minimize the amount of paper we use in our school.

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  35. I have found using Google Docs to be a fairly easy transition and think that it is a great tool for educators. It allows instant sharing of important information and allows multiple people to give their input when they need to.

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  36. I am self-admittedly "techno-phobic". However, I have heard so many wondrous comments about Google Docs that I am ready to feel the fear and do it anyway.

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  37. I think it's more efficient and I love the ease of not attaching endless documents to e-mails. We have used it for schedules, student data, and even menus. Learning how to use new tools helps you learn, grow, and expands your resources for students.

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  38. I am excited to learn something that can help me be more efficient at work or home. Let's hope I get a good grasp of using Google Docs this summer and don't revert back to my "old fashioned" way of using attachments.

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  39. Google Docs are a great way to collaborate with many people. We used Google Docs on one of my learning teams and it was a great way to read everyone's answers to the questions rather than trying to find a time to meet.

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  40. I love how you related the ideas of upgrading your cell phone every two years and how educators should be required to upgrade their knowledge about new technology and how it can be integrated into the classroom. It really is important to stay current with new technology that is happening all around us! The kids we are teaching need to be aware of what is happening and how to use technology. Some students are not exposed to the same type of technology at home and it is our job as educators to expose them to as much technology as we can! I started using the teachers' old HP laptops in my classroom (thanks to some amazing teachers that let me borrow the computers). There was a lot of learning that needed to take place on my part when it came to using docs, but it was well worth all the time and effort. I did a lot of reflecting and collaborating with my colleagues. My students did a lot with docs. The kids collaborated on KWLs, projects, presentations, and much more. The engagement, excitement, and enthusiasm I saw was amazing. The kids wanted to work on those assignments/projects every chance they got! Well worth all of the time I spent preparing and perfecting my lessons that incorporated docs/technology!

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  41. I enjoyed the technology analogy with learning a new cell phone. I have to admit I usually a frustrated with learning a new phone....I have to think and experiment with the new phone instead of just using it. This last school year I used a Google Doc for teaching referencing to my 6th graders. It was very much a learning experience for me as well. I am looking forward to learning and becoming proficient with Google Docs.

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  42. I have been using Google Docs for over a year; both personally and professionally. It is amazing how fast friends and students adopted this format. Students have embraced Google docs with little or no insistence. I am very anxious to learn about all the new tips and trick as they arise.

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  43. Google Docs is the future of teaching. Being able to go paperless in a classroom not only touches the technological side of our students, but it also decreases the spending of our building. The speed of communication is tremendous. Being able to get information to our students and staff instantly is amazing.

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  44. I have used Google Docs personally and professionally. I am a director of BPS Day Camp and I saved the directors an entire day of planning field trips by creating a Google Doc. I have also used Google Docs with staff at staff meetings. There is so much more involvement when you have staff members contribute to a Google Docs rather than shout answers or suggestions out. I would like to learn more about incorporating Google Docs in the classroom so I can better assist teachers.
    -Becky Baldwin

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  45. I agree with Coach Heuertz, Google Dos is the future of teaching. I love it for so many reasons. First, it is an awesome tool for collaboration with my colleagues within the district. Also, I used Google Docs for my students' research papers last semester and it was great. We didn't have to worry about the server or misplaced word documents. I can't wait to take it to the next level next year and give my students feedback via Google Docs.

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  46. Google Docs are a great way to connect teachers and collaborate effectively. I am so happy that Bellevue is moving into the 21st century. The opportunities for technology advancement are great in this district!

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  47. Google Docs looks like a great way to connect to others. After watching the YouTube video, I identified with the problem of e-mail attachments and “versions” of documents. I have multiple copies of the PowerPoint presentations I use in the classroom depending on the computer I’m using. Google Docs will clear that problem up right away. Looks like an easy way to manage everything we do as teachers!

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  48. While I have shared some documents created in other programs via Google Docs, I have been holding admittedly been holding out on creating the documents themselves online. The reason for the hold out is primarily that when we were first introduced to Google Docs and encouraged to use them, there was no ability to create mathematical equations. I am glad to see that these functions are beginning to be added, though there are still functions that Word offers and Google does not. At the moment, it is the usefulness of Google Docs in collaboration that has me most interested in learning more about them.

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  49. I am excited to learn more about how to use Google Docs more now that they are becoming more common and I am more comfortable with them. It's not that we don't want to learn and use the latest technology, but it does take time to learn, and time is in short supply. This class should help me devote the time I need to become more proficient with this technology. Google Docs is being used in many ways and I am excited to learn more about what I can do with it!

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  50. I began using Google Docs about a year ago. They are a great way to share information with others. I am looking forward to leaning how to use them more creatively and efficiently in my classroom.

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  51. There is a lot to learn and seemingly much potential when using Google Docs. I am intrigued to see how this can be useful to me in my work, both independently and in working with colleagues. I hope to learn much that is new in this class.

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  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  53. I am so excited to be making this leap as Google Docs seem so convenient and versatile! Like everyone, I spent the end of last year and beginning of the this year commenting on and contributing to others' Google Docs. However, up until now, I haven't known how to create a document myself. I am looking forward to learning about Google Doc's many features. I am especially excited that the documents I create will now be available to me any time, any where. It will no longer matter if I am at home or school or on a particular computer... My newly created documents will always be available. - Mindi Haase

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  54. Taking our tired presentations to google docs is bound to bring new life to our beginning band programs. This will enable us to go from working in our curriculum writing projects into developing recruiting projects with more effective collaborations. Looking forward to moving forward with this tool.

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  55. Whoops, forgot to log in as google account.

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  56. I am really excited to begin using Google Docs in my classroom. I’ve already used them in my department, but haven’t really had a chance to for my classes. My discipline has started curriculum writing, so using Google Docs will help me disseminate necessary info to my building without using the drawn-out email/attachment process. That will save a lot of time.

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  57. I'm excited to get started using Google Docs. I recently was in a collaboration meeting and we used a Google Doc. It really saved the group a lot of time documenting our plan and everyones input.

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  58. I am excited to learn more about Google Docs. Our building has been using it more frequently and I need to learn the ins and outs of it. As others have stated, it takes time, which is in short supply, so I'm excited to take a class devoted to learning this essential piece of technology. No matter how much out of my comfort zone new technology may be, it is necessary to get rid of the "bricks" and bounce into the 22nd century. Times will continue whether I do or not, so if I'm to be in the loop, I must make the change.

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  59. Google Docs are collaborative by nature. I am excited to learn how to use them in different ways both professionally and personally so that I can be more effective and efficient.

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  60. I have some experience with Google Docs but I use MS Word/PowerPoint most of the time. I notice my students are using Google Docs almost exclusively and I want to become more knowledgeable so I can answer their questions when they need help. I also want to be able to maximize its potential when collaborating with colleagues.

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  61. I used Google Docs for research with my seniors last semester for the first time. There were many things to learn about organization and how to "sell" it to the students. I really liked being able to tell my students that they couldn't possibly have lost their file or that I really don't believe that they couldn't work on it at home because their email didn't send correctly! I'd say about half of my three classes did everything electronically; some printed out some things; some printed out everything. I'm using it again this year and am hoping to learn some other ways of using Google Docs and how to organize better.

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  62. I was hooked on google docs the first time I used it. We had a google doc for an after school program for kids who had missing assignments. We all put in the assignment they missed into the google doc and then when the student showed up to after school club no matter the teacher we could find what they needed to work on. I enjoy group projects so much more now that google docs is around because we don't have to be in one place to collaborate. I'm excited to learn about all the other ways google docs can be used.

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  63. I've found google docs to be the easiest way to write reports collectively with others, to make presentations and use them in other settings so I have them easily available. I also find the forms to be great ways to collectively ask other teachers to sign up for activities or duties in the building.

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  64. I know this is going to make things in my life easier for organizing docs, but I am curious to know if this can be used in my classroom. It does seem very easy to use, I just need to spend a little more time with it. This will be great to use when sending out questions or comments to school staff.

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  65. One reason I'm interested in learning more about Google Docs is because I unknowingly signed up for Map testing and erased more then 20 other teachers from the schedule-nice one!!!

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  66. I am currently on the reading committee and we use Google Docs to all the time to look at each others files. I can't imagine what the committee did before Google Docs was around. It is an amazing feature, and I am interested in learning more about it.

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  67. It's amazing how removing a few clicks, windows, and steps from a process can ease your mind and make things more efficient. With what I've experienced with Google Docs, it still take a good handle on organization, folders, and sharing to really make it work for you and not be another form of the same hassle. I'm ready to dive into Google Docs further, because right now I feel like I have one foot in Microsoft Word World and one foot in Google Docs World.

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  68. I love the idea of using a Google Doc to take notes and share it with my department. I might try this when I run our department meetings too.

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  69. Google docs is amazing. I completed our schools action plan using it this year; I simply put changes in a different text color; then my superiors could gauge progress, add suggestions, and edit the document. Now I'm waiting for the Internet itself to die so I lose everything...and all because of google.

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  70. I find a lot of advantages to using Google Docs. I really like how collaborative it is. I hope to learn more of the advanced bells and whistles so I can stop using MS Word completely.

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  71. I have wanted to implement Google Docs into my classroom for a long time. My students have taught me a few things, and they seem to plow right through. For me, it is not so much the fear, but the time to experiment and figure things out before I use it.

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  72. Ann, your analogy of the phone is excellent. As a district, I feel we bounced into the 22nd century when we changed to the MAC world. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been a journey that I've actually embraced. My teaching partners had much more experience with MACs and Google Docs, so they have helped me become more comfortable. It does take time to make the shift from word to Google Docs.

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  73. This will be a great way to collaborate with others to get immediate feedback

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  74. I am beginning to understand how google docs can make everything so much easier in terms of collaboration. I have been apart of some of this collaboration already when working on particular cases, but I am hoping after this class I am able to use it even more efficiently.

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