How Google Changed my (school-related) Life

I don’t consider myself very tech savvy. Whenever facebook or my email account changed anything, even just format, I used to feel annoyed and dismayed! But then I realized that adaptability is a great skill to have, especially in this fast-paced day and age, where job hopping is kind of the norm. Since then, I take a more positive approach to changes and trying out new technology.

This is the fourth year of my undergrad and classes often include a group project, presentation or lab(s). For the first time, I’ve made use of things like google calendar, google groups and google docs. Here’s an overview of what I’ve used them for, which is just scratching the surface:

Google Calendar:

-easy to use calendars (can create more than one), color-coded by theme (work, school dance etc)

-can specify for reminders to be sent to you via email (and I think phone)

-can create calendars accessible by multiple people – we’ve used this to put in our class schedules to see what empty time slots were left for meetings each week.

-can share your calendar with others, show any number of calendars that you have access to overlapping.

Google Groups:

I’ve had some issues with this so we had to stop using it. But for others it has worked well. You can create a group where everyone you allow has access to a site where:

-files can be uploaded for all to see/download (in whatever format)

-discussions can take place

-pages can be written and stored, with comments enabled for group members

-group emails can be sent easily

Google Documents:

This is the one I use the most. You can:

-Open documents (word, excel, powerpoint compatible) online, edit and save online

-can download these documents to word, excel on your computer (slight formatting changes)

-can edit these documents at the same time as all other group members with access, from anywhere

-you can see who is working on the document at the same time as you

-some types of files have a built in chat for you to communicate with other group members currently editing with you

-can upload files for storage (there’s alot of storage allocated to you) I use this for file backup a lot

-NEW – can upload files in their original format (not google docs format) for storage, viewing or downloading by others

-your account keeps track of the time last edited and who edited it

-changes are tracked and can be viewed as desired

-your account allows you to create folders and organize your online documents

So as you can see, these things have the potential to increase collaboration, decrease the number of versions of 1 file being circulated for editing, increase file storage security (no more losing assignments off your computer!) and increase communication between group members.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend trying one or more of these out! All you  need is a gmail account (and you dont even need that to view documents sent to you by others)

What other programs do you use to keep you organized academically?


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