Using Google Docs to Support Your PLC

Mark Wagner, Ph.D.

Take your professional learning community to the next level by using Google Docs to collaborate with colleagues. Google Docs is an online office suite that allows you to create, edit, share, and publish documents, including spreadsheets and presentations. Because everything is stored and even modified on the web, Google Docs makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues - and even to edit the same document from multiple computers simultaneously. This session will focus on the use of Google Docs to promote and support collaboration within a PLC, including strategies for creating common assessments, sharing best practices, and capturing the conversation - even between meetings. Google Docs can even be used for data collection and analysis. This one tool can revolutionize the way your PLC collaborates. And it’s free.


What is Google Docs?

Interactive Overview (with Links to Help Pages):

Activity 1: How can Google Docs be used to extend your PLC online?
  • Example answers include:
    • Using a document for shared assessments, lesson plans, meeting minutes, or other resources.
    • Using a presentation for shared materials - or presenting data.
    • Using a spreadsheet for sharing and analyzing data.
  • Create a document, presentation, or spreadsheet to illustrate your answer.
  • Add colleagues as collaborators.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.
  • Are you ready to move on to creating and sharing a specific PLC form? (Grin or Frown?)

Activity 2: Who are we? (Using Google Docs Forms)
  • No Google account is required!
  • Complete this demo survey.
  • View the results .
  • Demonstration: View summary.
  • Demonstration: Create and publish a chart.
  • Demonstration: Self Grading Quiz (Your answer to the last question on the survey will be graded!)
  • Are you ready to see how to create, edit, and collaborate on specific PLC documents? (Grin or Frown?)

Activity 3: How can Google Docs Forms be used for Data Collection, Analysis, and Sharing?
  • Example topics include:
    • A Teacher (or Student) Observation Form
    • A WASC Data Collection Form
    • An Awards Nomination Form
    • A Professional Development Evaluation
    • A Staff or Community Survey
    • A PLC Team Meeting Form
      • Attendance
      • Team Smart Goal
      • Strategies and Action Steps
      • Responsibilities
      • Timeline
      • Evidence of Effectiveness
    • Advanced: A Self-Grading Quiz
  • Create a form for collecting data.
  • Mock up a "proof-of-concept" to illustrate something you might actually implement.
  • Send the "live form" link to colleagues so they can fill out your form.
  • Share the results with colleagues or publish them as a web page.
  • Optional: Create (and publish) charts of the results.
  • Are you ready to move on? (Grin or Frown?)
    • Time permitting we can view more samples...
    • Or create a self-grading quiz...
    • Or talk about using Google Docs with a mobile device.

CHALLENGE Activity: Create a self-grading quiz! (Time permitting)
  • Create a three question quiz using a Google Form.
  • Solicit sample answers from some colleagues.
  • Create an IF formula for each question to "grade" the question. (Each IF formula needs to be in a new column.)
  • Fill Down so that the IF formulas you've written can "grade" all the responses at once!
  • Advanced: Create a SUM formula to total up the total score for each person that took the quiz. Then create another formula to calculate the percentage. Finally, create a nested IF formula to convert the percentages to letter grades!
  • Time Permitting: Share your quiz with the lead learner. Links to the quizes will be added below.
  • SUPER CHALLENGE: With clever use of the Transpose and Filter functions, you can get your results to appear in a verticle format in a separate sheet (for one submission at a time). This way you can "print out" (to PDF or to Paper) an individual teacher's observation - or an individual student's quiz!

BONUS Activity: Using Google Docs and Forms on a Mobile Device (Time Permitting)
  • Accessing your Google Docs on a Mobile Device
  • Completing a Google Form on a Mobile Device

More Sample Uses of Google Docs:

Getting Started
  • Create a Google Account (if you don't already have one).
  • Login to Google Docs
  • Click on the "New" button to the left and select the type of document.
  • Play... and return to this page for more information and tutorials. :)
  • You might also find the Google Docs Help Center (including getting started guides)... helpful

Reflection Activity
  • Join the League Learning Network, the CLMS & CLHS online social network.
  • Reply to the "How can you use Google Docs to support your PLC?" forum discussion.
  • Consider specific things you learned that you would like to implement in the coming school year. What are your next steps? And what do you still have to learn?
  • Please reply to your colleagues' posts as well so that the discussion there can grow. :)

Online Evaluation (A Google Form!)