Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Use Google Docs Offline in Two Steps

Earlier this evening I mentioned the new iPad apps for Google Drive and for Chrome. Another, and perhaps more important, announcement from Google today deals with Google Docs offline. Google Docs now works offline on your laptop or desktop if you have Google Drive installed. You can now create and edit documents offline then have them sync to your Google account when you reconnect to the web.

To enable Google Docs for offline use, sign into your account and click the sprocket icon in the upper-right corner. Then select "set up docs offline." Google Docs will then launch a dialogue box asking you to confirm that you want to enable docs offline. If already have Google Drive installed, you're finished with the set up. If you don't have Google Drive installed, you will be prompted to do so. If you need help setting up Google Drive on your Mac or on your PC, please see the directions that I have included in my guide to Google Drive and Docs for Teachers (page 7 has directions for Mac users, page 14 has directions for Windows users)

Google Drive and Docs for Teachers 2012

Offline support is only available for Google Documents right now. It does not offer support for Google Presentations or for Google Spreadsheets. You should also note that you do need to have the latest version of Chrome or Chrome OS to use the offline creation, editing, and commenting tools.

Applications for Education
For a long time the hesitation that some people have regarding use of Google Documents is that you had to have an Internet connection to work on your documents. With the launch of Google Documents offline support in Chrome and Chrome OS, that hesitation may be removed.

In my school district many students don't have Internet access at home, but at the middle school and high school levels they do have laptops or netbooks to take home from school. Now if those netbooks or laptops have the latest version of Chrome installed, the students can use Google Documents everywhere they go.

Chrome Comes to iPads

In more big news from Google that I missed earlier today while I was teaching. Chrome is now available on the iPad. This means that you can now take continue your syncing from your laptop to your iPad. I personally use Chrome because I love being able to sync my tabs and bookmarks just by signing into Chrome on any device that has Chrome installed. My iPad is broken (it's on its way back to Apple at the moment) but Chrome will be the first app I install when it returns.

Applications for Education
If your students use multiple computers and devices and count iPads or iPhones in that number, Chrome could be a great app to have installed on those iPads.

Google Drive Comes to iOS

While I was teaching at Ed Tech Teacher's summer workshop today big news came from Google today. You can now install Google Drive on your iPad or iPhone. The app will allow you to view your documents and files on your iPad. You can use Google Drive for iOS to make your documents available offline on your iPad. Finally, you can now add collaborators to your files and documents through the Google Drive for iOS app.

Applications for Education
Unfortunately, you cannot edit your documents through the Google Drive for iOS app. However, the app could still be useful for viewing materials that your students share with you in Google Drive.