Day 7 - Google Docs and Wikis for Science Lab Write-ups Published 2006-12-20 under , ,

In my last post, I spoke of the great advantages of using Google Docs over the traditional word processing application. When creating a collaborative document, it is a great asset to have that document available for all group members to edit anytime, anywhere and even at the same time.

A feature that I did not mention about Google Docs on my last post is its flexibility of publishing the final document. Once you have finished editing a document, you can use the "Save As..." feature to save the document in HTML, RTF, Word, OpenOffice, or PDF format. I really like the option to save the document in PDF format and which allows me to add it to a web site for others to view.

Lab work in a science class is a great opportunity for students to collaborate. Lab partners work on the experiment together, record their observations, and summarize their results. Using Google Docs, lab groups can store their results in an online speadsheet (see below). Like Google's word processing application, more than one person can be adding data to a spreadsheet at the same time. Care must be taken to avoid putting data in the same cell, but I am impressed at the speed with which the application refreshes and shows changes made by other users.

The lab write-up can be done in a Google Docs word processing document and both the data and write-up can be saved as PDF documents. These PDFs can then be uploaded to a class wiki on a page setup for the lab assignment allowing other students to review your results and conclusions. At the end of the year, each of the labs in the course will have a separate page with data and write-ups from each of the lab groups. By documenting each lab in this way, you and your students can review the results and discuss reasons for discrepancies.

Google Docs offers a variety of features that makes collaboration much easier and convenient. I hope you have a chance to explore all that Google has to offer.

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Shawna said...


Nice.. Thanks for the info.