iPad Summer Camp – Project 2 – Collaborative Writing with Google Docs

Welcome back to iPad Summer Camp. Whether your summer is relaxing and filled with free time or packed with busy things (like me – working on a master’s degree!), it’s important to take some time to play with some of the technology that you might be using next year. If you haven’t been following along, check out the introductory post and the first project. Otherwise, onwards to collaborative writing!

Project 2 – Collaborative Writing with Google Docs

Goal: To create a collaborative writing document

Apps: Google Drive

Optional Resources: If you like to prepare before starting, check out some of these resources. If you’re someone who likes to just jump in, skip this and start working!


Skills Checklist: By the end of your project, you should be able to do all these things (you can see how much there is to learn!):

  • Create a new file
  • Format your text (bold, centered, etc)
  • Select, copy, cut, and paste text
  • Use the undo button
  • Organize files into folders
  • Find files
  • Share documents with others
  • Work with comments in a document


Limitations: Since this camp session is more focused app-focused, it’s important to understand a few of the limitations of Google Drive. You may find that it is necessary or helpful to supplement your students’ writing work with another app, like Pages. Google Drive has some major upsides, but there are also limitations, such as:

  • Google Drive does not underline spelling mistakes like word processors on your desktop. This can be a limitation for students!
  • Be careful when using images or tables in your documents. If you made a document on a desktop or laptop, you’ll be able to see the images, but you won’t be able to edit them on the iPad. Tables don’t work at all in the iPad version of Drive.
  • Play around with the viewing mode and the edit mode. Things may look different between the two.


Getting started with Google Drive: This isn’t meant to be a step-by-step tutorial. I encourage you to figure things out on your own, but a few things might be worth pointing out:


Set up an account

When you start the app for the first time you’ll be greeted with a welcome screen and be asked to login. If you ever need to change your account settings, just look for the settings button in the bottom left corner.



Start a new document, spreadsheet, folder, or upload photos or videos to Google Drive

Click on the + sign in the top right corner



Sharing, Renaming, or Moving a document

From the main menu, click on the right arrow next to a document to open up the side pane. Choose the options button in the top right corner, or click the + sign under “Who has access” to share the document. When sharing, type in the email address of the person you want to share with.


Step 1: Click on the right arrow next to a document


Step 2: Click the options button in the top right corner or the + to share right away



Step 3: Type in the email address of the person you are sharing with


Ideas for Projects: There are tons of things you can do with Google Drive in your classroom. At our school we use it for taking our Grade level team meeting minutes so that everyone has access. My students use Google Drive on their iPads for almost all of their writing projects (however we might explore more with Pages next year). In the summer, if you want to get more acquainted with Google Drive, create a document where you can keep a list of ideas for technology projects for next year. Share it with a colleague and ask them to add to your document!

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