The Learning Librarian

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Google Docs

on March 8, 2013
 

For this week’s technology journal, I decided to look into Google Docs. I have never created one before, but I am beginning to understand how important they can be. Google Docs allows multiple people to read and edit one document without having to e-mail it back and forth. I think Google Docs would be a great way for librarians to collaborate with teachers. It seems that a common problem is that teachers and librarians would like to collaborate but neither one has the free time to meet and discuss lessons. The librarian and the teacher could simultaneously work on a Google Doc about a given lesson and collaborate without actually meeting face-to-face. While I prefer the face-to-face method whenever possible, sometimes there just isn’t the time. Google Docs can make it happen.

 

A friend of mine is in the process of creating a non-profit organization. She knows that I am learning how to be a librarian, so she asked me to be in charge of organizing the articles and other resources she and her colleagues are compiling. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to learn how to use Google Docs, because I wanted to create a document that anyone could edit and work on. After hours of hard work, I finished listing the articles she had provided me with. You can visit my Google Doc here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av4JBjtLhIFSdDFZb3VTVXZpdG5PLTZya2xxQUdTcWc#gid=0

 

I was pleased to discover that the process of creating a Google Doc was very simple. It was easy to select spreadsheet and to type in the information. Google Docs is extremely user-friendly; when I accidentally deleted a row, navigating how to put it back was no big deal. Likewise, when I wanted to organize the information alphabetically, I simply clicked “data”, then “sort sheet A-Z”. You can select which column you’d like to alphabetize, which is also nice. I prefer it to be alphabetized by article topic, but others may prefer it to be alphabetized by article title or author. Google Docs will let people change it to accommodate their preferences.

 

Now that I’ve finished creating my document, I have had some confusion regarding how to share it. I e-mailed it to my friend who leads the organization, so I know she has the document, but I’m still figuring out how to make it available to all the members of the group. Luckily I found some fantastic resources to help me figure it out: https://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2494822&topic=2816927&rd=1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wsvhIQj-3E&noredirect=1. Both the article and video are extremely helpful. The video is geared towards students and teachers, so along with solving my current problem, it also gave me some ideas for using this in the library.

 

I have no doubt that I would like to use Google Docs with students. I think it would work best for students in older grades, though it could also work for younger grades if students were closely supervised. Google Docs strikes me as a tool that could be very beneficial for collaboration. This collaboration could happen between groups of students, between students and teachers, and between librarians and teachers. I think it would be great for student group projects – students could work on the projects at home and then come together to edit them during school. It would be a great exercise in compromise and teamwork, as one student may want to make a change that they don’t all agree on.

 

Personally, I’m excited to see how my document goes over with this non-profit group. I left a column for comments and I’m hoping members will take a minute to contribute their thoughts on the various articles and videos. In doing so, my mini-library of resources will become an interactive forum – I am not simply telling them “here are the articles, go read them” but rather encouraging their input and ideas and providing them with sources to inspire the aforementioned input and ideas. Hopefully being able to participate will create more excitement and interest in this project. I think it would have the same effect in a school as well.

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