Using Google Docs and Wikis to Bring Your Community Together

If you rely heavily on volunteer participation, using Web 2.0 tools will save time and aggravation. Running the library for a small charter school involved scheduling volunteers to assist in the library or work book fairs. Volunteers now schedule themselves, and the resources of the Web allow contributors from all over the nation. An added bonus is that of introducing the Internet tools to parents, giving them a slight edge on their computer-savvy offspring!

Google Docs
Volunteer schedule (spreadsheet)
Book Fair (Calendar)
Conference planning

Conference planning
Ms. B's Celebration
Staff Development planning

At end of session (50 minutes): attendees will be able to set up and participate in a collaborative Web environment.

1.. Gauge familiarity - what do you know about Web 2.0? Anyone have Google accounts? Anyone been to/used a Wiki?
- How many use more than one computer? How many try to coordinate activities - at home? at work?
What are some of the problems with that? (phone tag; disgruntled volunteers; time intensive, more...)

2. Uses - take suggestions - add: calendar/scheduling, planning, preparing documents/presentations.

3. Solution: Web2.0 - keyword is collaboration.
- Google Docs - used spreadsheet, documents, calendar - tip of the iceberg!
demonstration of how easy it is to set up and use. Give general password.
Gave encouragement to parent volunteers; everyone has access to schedule. Color code sign-up times. Can set for e-mail or cell phone reminders (with personal Google account).
No cutting and pasting, or endless e-mails - documents visible to all

- Wikis: free to K-12 applications, many times - low cost otherwise. Plain or elaborate.
Solves problem of working on multiple computers at multiple times. Makes all planning visible, shared, open to discussion.
Solved problem of getting information quickly from across the country: utilized MySpace and Facebook to contact alumni, had them post or e-mail their information. Added class pictures. Made a great collaborative presentation, accessible to anyone.
Many conference presenters using Wiki format to have quick and easy, modifiable Web page. TIE: group discussions posted on session Wiki - instant shared information - used as resources and reference later.