Using Google Docs to Facilitate A Writing Workshop

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Guest Post

What is Google Docs ? 
Google Docs ( now part of Google Drive ) is a free word document service provided by Google. The doc looks similar to the Microsoft Word interface, but it has several exciting other features.

Why Google Docs ?

There are several reasons why Google Docs is a useful tool for teaching writing :

1- Sharing and Commenting

  • · Highlight text and insert comment 
  • · Provides immediate feedback 
  • · Smart comments disappear after revising 
  • · Has a chat functionality for real time collaboration 24/7 
  • · Integrated writing and reference tools 

2- Research Tool

  • · Web results display a relevant snippet of information with citation information and a link to the full website 
  • · Search for quotations with the click of a button, then choose Insert button to include a properly formatted quotation in the document 

3- Integrated Writing/ Reference Tools 
  • · Built-in dictionary and thesaurus supports 12 languages 
  • · Search words without leaving document 
  • · Easily create footnotes 
  • · Autosave and Revision History 
  • · Docs are automatically saved to Google Cloud 
  • · Revision history tracks changes and contributions from collaborators 
  • · Revert to a prior version of the document at any time 
  • Benefits of Google Docs in Writing Instruction 
  • · Realtime Feedback: The ability to give students real time feedback on their writing 
  • · The Comment Box: The unlimited room of the comment box and the ability to tag individual words or complete sentences makes it clear to the student exactly what part of their writing you are talking about and gives you the opportunity to give them examples of ways to improve or enhance their papers. 
  • · Accountability: Students, once they share their documents, enable you to see exactly where they are with the writing process. This is especially important when they are undertaking major assignments like research papers. 
Ways to Use Google Docs in Teaching Writing

  • · Have students collaborate on group projects or essays in the doc. Students can all write at once in the body of the document, and can use the comment features or chat function to talk to each other and plan their ideas. 
  • · Use Docs when you Peer Workshop. Have each student upload their work and share it with the class. Students can easily comment on each other’s work, and the built in chat means that students can talk to each other while they comment. It’s great for having students peer workshop outside of class, but is helpful even when they are sitting together at the same desk!

Two Great Resources on Teaching Digital Writing