Encouraging engagement in & outside the classroom with Google Docs – day 2


Day 2

Welcome back. Did you manage to set up your Google Account?  Did you contribute to the document in Activity  1? If you didn’t, please do so now.  It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. Here’s a tutorial  again if you missed it yesterday.

Activity 1:

Click this link and give me an idea how you got on yesterday. What you’re filling out there is a Google Form and we will briefly look at how to create one today. I say ‘briefly’ because it’s so easy, I doubt you’ll need much instruction.

OK, so hopefully you’ve set up your Google account; as you will see there’s lots of tools in there. Hopefully you’ll be able to figure out how to use and share things. It’s all pretty intuitive, especially if you know how to use Microsoft Office tools. Today, I’d like to briefly show you how to open and share a Doc and create and share a Form – and then discuss what you might do with these things.

Activity 2:

Please create a Google Doc, share it with the rule that anyone can write on it, and post the shared link at the bottom of this page in the comments. Click here to view a tutorial how to do that.

Activity 3:

Create a Google Form with 1 or 2 questions on it and make them pertinent to something you teach. Choose any style of questions. Share it with us by posting a link at the bottom of this page.  If everyone could answer each other’s Forms, that would be great. You might pick up some tips by looking at each other’s Forms. Click here to view a tutorial on creating a Google Form.

7 Benefits of using Google Forms

  1. Help students to overcome their embarrassment of answering questions in class, by setting up a form and asking them to complete it. Everyone can see the results instantly and anonymously. This may help you as a teacher to concentrate on certain areas, and may help your student to see they were right, or that they were not the only one who was wrong. (NB: if you share a Google Form in the class, you may want to remind students to log out of their Google account if they wish to answer anonymously)
  2. Employing their laptops/devices means they’re not using them for anything else.
  3. If they don’t have devices with them, get your students to form ad hoc groups to discuss the questions before submitting through one person. The discussion will promote engagement.
  4. It can be fun and give your class another dimension.
  5. Asking your students to answer questions before the class can help you ascertain where you might concentrate your efforts in class. You could also get your class to discuss the answers, and even ask them to answer the questions again at the end of the lecture.
  6. Asking students to contribute a video clip or find an article can be fun. It also encourages wider reading, can bring useful information to everyone’s attention, and can be the catalyst to discuss resources and how to reference them in class.
  7. Google Forms do not need to be recreated every time you wish to use them – simply right click and copy to use them again.

7 Benefits of using Google Docs

  1. Working on the same document for group work (or admin work) is a no-brainer.
  2. Gathering thoughts before, or during class and sharing them on the projector is simple and instant (no more taking photos of badly written flip charts).
  3. If you encourage your students to have a Google account (they may well already have one), you would be able to see who contributed what and when, making group work transparent.
  4. It’s free and easy to use.
  5. You don’t have to save; it does so automatically.
  6. There’s a revision history option.
  7. As with all other tools, everything is in one place – no more versions, emails or problems you might have if someone already has the document open.

To finish – we’ve come a long way:

I’m always conscious that it takes many words to describe even the most simple tasks, and Google Docs is a good example of that. What is in essence a hard drive on the web with some MS Office style tools in can require a wordy explanation, much of which I believe most people could figure out by themselves.

Perhaps the only thing we might need to get our heads around is the way in which we share  what we’ve created – having one document that people go to, rather than sending copies of documents via email.  I hope you feel that way too.


Contact me if you would like further help. I’m happy for you share, and test things out with me if you want someone to give you feedback.

many thanks, J.

jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk – ext 2211

Take it further: Learn more and gain a certificate


If you would like to go further with Google Docs, why not have a look at Lynda? You’ll find really good courses on there you can dip into, or do in entirety.  Click the logo:


  • User name: that’s your staff user name plus @anglia.ac.uk – e.g. jlw1@anglia.ac.uk
  • Password: that’s just your usual staff password.