Monday, January 14, 2013

Google Docs, Save Me!

Sometimes things seem so utterly clear to me, I want to grab others around me and shake the truth into them. My school is overloaded with good qualities. Unfortunately, excellent communication is not one of them. The school is rather large and the teachers are so busy, it seems like all the divisions within the school are functioning as if there are no others, and within those divisions the departments are their own little islands, and even within those departments the individual teachers are basically on their own. 

Yet we pretend. We have days where the whole faculty meets, we get worked up about some idea, pay a speaker a heaping load of cash to motivate our productive collaboration… and the next day we return to status quo.

Recently I read about Google Docs and I had an epiphany that it could solve all of our communication woes by establishing several documents for individual groups throughout the school to contribute. For example, if the school is trying to create a unified, intelligently scaffolded Hebrew curriculum in K-12, they could have bulky and annoying emails that get ignored and get burdensome in one’s Inbox, or they can have a meeting that is unwieldy and almost impossible to conduct with everyone present. Or an intelligently formulated document can be created for which all members of the group can participate without restriction of time or location. I know what I’d choose!

 For staff collaboration, Google Docs have these advantages:

1.     Staff can collaborate quickly and easily in basically limitless formats about limitless topics.

2.     Everyone can contribute on their own time. No more meetings with missing essential people or last minute rescheduling!

3.     It makes a large institution smaller. Divisions can have incompatible schedules, it’s impossible to have many after-school meetings, and it’s virtually impossible to conduct a productive meeting with a very large group. This idea circumvents all these problems.

4.     The less aggressive staff members will be able to be heard.

5.     It’s an amazing format for brainstorming and eliminating unworkable ideas.

6.     There is an instant record kept of all opinions and ideas (teachers can initial their comments). Credit for good ideas is obvious and inherent in this process.

7.     For documents with a small amount of contributors, staff can color code their comments.

8.     And so much more!

          Now all I need to do is get everyone else on board as well.
The hard part…

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