Try out the NEW Google Docs


Image via CrunchBase

If you are the kind of person who wants things to stay the same, then don’t use technology. I’m serious. That is because the minute you have something figured out, then it inevitably changes. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing, either.

For instance, our department (EDTECH at Boise State) uses Moodle, a free, open-source learning management system (LMS) that is becoming the world’s most popular. Yes, you read that right. Moodle is interactive, engaging, fun, and ever-evolving. Sometimes just when you become accustomed to a certain feature, it is changed or even eliminated. It’s not really that serious, however, as the changes usually are for the good, with the new stuff being more useful and better. That is just the way technology works.

So, when I was in Google docs yesterday, an announcement bubble popped up, telling me that docs now has a Drawing feature. I’m not very good at drawing, but it looks like a helpful addition, especially since you can collaborate with others on your drawings. But there is MORE!

First of all, you will need to update your settings in Google Docs to access new features in docs. Why would you want to update and change? Here are a few good reasons (from Google Docs Help articles, weblink: https://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=176442)

  • Real time collaboration: See updates from other collaborators as they edit the document.
  • Higher-quality imports: More consistent imports from your desktop into Google Docs.
  • Chat with other collaborators: As you make your edits, you can chat with other document editors about the changes, from within the document.
  • Ruler: Google documents have a ruler for setting margins, indentations, and tab stops.

To get started, update your settings in Google Docs:

  1. Open your Google docs account, click Settings in the top-right of your Docs list
  2. Click the Editing tab
  3. Select the option “Create new text documents using the latest version of the document editor.”
  4. (If you are a dare-devil like me, then select the option “Turn on experimental features (these may change, break, or disappear at any time). I like to live on the edge.

Document Tracking? Finally, you will also notice that Google docs offers document tracking. This can be very beneficial to see how many viewers and other detailed data about your published document. All you need to do is set up a Google Analytics account (not hard), get the tracking code for your webpage URL, and then insert the tracking code. If you have a published Google doc you would like to track, this is a very easy way to do this.

Try out the new features and see what you think. And keep experimenting with new technology tools. You won’t regret it

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