Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Basic Google Docs For PCS

Potsdam has its own Google ‘Domain’, a set of web applications (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, etc.) which you can get to at: http://google.potsdam.k12.ny.us/
Google docs is basically a slimmed down, free, online version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). It may not have all the features of MS Office but it does do what most of us do most often. It also has the advantages of being online (so it doesn’t matter if you are on campus or off campus) and allowing you to share (optional) your documents (even in realtime).
One of the features in google apps I like is being able to create folders (much like you would on your desktop computer). Except you can also ‘share’ folders with other people (other staff, administrators, or even students). What this means is you can create a folder (or set of folders) that have special shared settings so you could just ‘share’ a file or set of files with a group of users. Two examples that immediately come to mind is sharing a folder of documents with your team or sharing a folder of documents with your students (allowing you to hand out work, allowing them to hand IN work, or even work together).
Once signed into google docs ( http://google.potsdam.k12.ny.us/ ) you have a lis of ‘My folders’ on the left.
To create a new folder click on the ‘Create New’ button and choose ‘Folder’

Your new folder (defaulting to the name ‘New Folder’) should be under ‘My folders’
If you select your new folder you can then rename your folder something more meaningful
To place files in folders (a file can be in any number of folders, unlike files on your computer which can only be in one folder at a time) check the checkbox to the left of the file(s)

Press the ‘Folders’ button and place a checkbox next to the folder(s) you want that file(s) placed in
If you want to optionally share that entire folder with a person or group of people, select the folder from ‘My folders’.

From the ‘Share’ button, choose ‘Share This Folder’
You can then type in the full email address of the other users (separated by a comma).
Note: When you click on the ‘Add people’ text field you can optionally ‘Choose from contacts’. All of YOUR contacts as well as PCS staff and students will be listed here. This can be a real time saver for you!
Once you have completed selecting all the people you want to share the folder with you you can optionally decided to have google send them an email letting them know you have shared the folder with them.
That folder you shared will now be under THEIR ‘Folders shared with me’ when they sign in google docs.
If you wish to share a specific file (or files) with others, the processes is very similar.

Check the checkbox to the left of the file(s) and choose ‘Sharing settings…’ from the ‘Share’ button.
Then, just like sharing a folder, you can choose the people you wish to share the document(s) with.