I think that Google Apps will be one of the primary tools that we use in our classroom in the next few years. As Google Apps has grown (and waged war on Office), more and more districts are using just google instead of purchasing updated versions of Office. I think that Google has some inherent advantages in that is saves to the cloud, doesn't require licenses or computer software, can be used on any computer, and can be shared with others. One very important advantage it has it is the ability to collaborate at the same time. Because google is in real time, students can work side by side on the same document which streamlines the process. 

I still find that some features are a bit limiting within Google itself, but do believe that this will come in time. I have found the need to Office products in conjunction to Google for tools like editing, page layouts and text designs. I know that Google does offer these tools, but I have found that can be limiting (like you cannot add new text fonts to Google). I think for high school and below and the use in the classroom Google Apps is perfect. One drawback I have found is the internet in our building sometimes lags. But the computers without Office end up being faster than those with.

I also think Google has an advantage because of linking forms to spreadsheets, and the ability to link everything to a site. This seamless transition between programs is something I have found Office to be lacking for years. It makes sense to be able to hyperlink within word to a spread sheet, or link text from a spread sheet back to a document for further information or explanation.

I like using Google for the documents that I post online because it takes away from the need to have Office. If a parent or a home computer doesn’t have Office, but has internet, there is no more excuses as to why the homework is not word processed. I also try to use it when posting documents because then both Mac and PC can open and change without having to convert (although this has been greatly improved in the last several years with Office programs).

I think it is important to use Google links with TinyUrl’s do to the sheer size of the form URLs. QR codes would also bee good for posting items around the school, but this is a trend that is still catching on within the high school level.

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