Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Google Doc Options

As the Google I/O continues, new Google features are being rolled out. Drive now has a great addition to enhance collaboration. There are now three lenses collaborators can quickly swap between to view a document with a different role. Collaborators with appropriate permissions can swap between an editor, viewer, and a new role that allows you to make suggestions. 

This new role essentially integrates the comments much more intuitively and color codes changes in real-time. For example, if a student were editing a document, and the teacher wanted to provide some feedback. The teacher could choose the role of "suggestion" and type in a suggestion while the student is making edits. On the student end of the document,  a pink highlight will appear in the text, with a new comment added, as well as a place holder in the document with the suggestion. If the suggestion is to change a portion of the document, the teacher can actually cross out a portion of the document, but the editor can see the changes being crossed out with the original material still present. If the student doesn't want to take the advice, they can close the comment box and the suggestion clears for both collaborators. 

This opens some great opportunities for teachers to collaborate with students to provide more real-time feedback and provides easier tools for the student to incorporate these suggestions into the document, without interrupting the flow of the editing process. Similarly, this opens more opportunities for better peer editing. Students can actually collaborate and see changes and suggestions without losing the original thoughts and ideas, to acquire one truly collaborative document. 

This image shows the new menu options. 

This image shows what the "Suggesting" role looks like. 

Here is what the "editor" role looks like.