EdTech in Action: Collaborating on Google Docs

By Monica Burns 09.08.2014 blog

Collaboration at the middle and high school level can take on many forms. Students can work together to study for exams or complete a project. Teachers can work in teams to plan for a unit or school-wide event. When you think about real world skills you would like your students to have by the time they graduate, the ability to collaborate and work together is at the top of many teachers’ lists.

When students have a common goal – finishing a group assignment, getting an A on a paper, or fundraising for a school trip – they often find a way to work together to get the job done. Collaboration can take many forms and one fantastic tool you’ll want to try with your students is Google Docs. If Google Docs aren’t accessible for students in your school there are also lots of ways that teachers can use them behind the scenes for planning and collaborating with other staff members.


Google Documents have many of the same features of Microsoft Word. You can type, add tables, change formatting, and more. Although you have the option of working offline, the best part of these documents is the ability to access them from Google Drive on any web browser. Once you’ve created a document you can share it with other people. That way more than one person can make changes and comment all in one place.  Multiple users can be logged in at once and there is even a chat feature so you can talk about the task as you work together.


Students and teachers can access, edit, and create presentations saved to their Google Docs.  This is great for group projects where students are in charge of speaking about a particular topic during a presentation.  It’s also a good option for staff meetings where administrators want an easy way to share their slide deck, or a few teachers are speaking about school events and want to put their presentation materials all in one place. Google has just released  an iOS app that makes accessing presentations on-to-go even easier.


When gathering information all in one place spreadsheets are often the right type of document for staying organized. Users can add to a list when brainstorming and input their ideas into the same spreadsheet as they work together. Spreadsheets are a great tool for unit planning and teachers on the same grade level team can access the same document, add their thoughts, make changes, and comment on the work of other team members.


Google Forms are one of my favorite tools and they are perfect for students or teachers who are working together.  Forms are simply online surveys that can be customized by a user.  They can decide what types of questions go where and share the link with anyone they want.  Google Forms are fantastic collaboration tools because all of the information (or survey answers) a respondent puts into a form goes in one place.  If students are conducting a survey of their classmates all group members can see the results.  If teachers are using Forms to collect data, multiple service providers can input and access information on a set of students.

Have you tried out Google Docs in your learning environment?  What have you done to foster collaboration?

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.




  1. Blake

    I think you should be likeeeeee 10 don’t you agree bruh!!!!

    • #YOLO

      Not proper Blake.

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