You many not have noticed a change in the way you can access Google Docs or any of the new features if you are not a member of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) such as twitter, facebook, or an educational Ning. If you are, then surely you saw posts yesterday about the updates in Google Docs. If not, then let me fill you in on what these changes mean for you as a teacher, and how they might benefit your classroom.
One of the nice new features in Google Docs is Drawing. This will allow you to add diagrams and create drawings within Google Docs for use or sharing. This is something many have been asking for, and Google has answered. You are able to bring in images from your computer or the web to work with (be aware of copyright!) and you can then download the files as images or in other standard formats.
Real Time Collaboration
This addition isn't far off from what Google Docs had allowed before. Earlier, multiple users could work on a document (or spreadsheet) at the same time, and the changes would show up eventually. But Google has acquired the technology from Etherpad that allows for instant multi-line changes to occur within a document, spreadsheet, or drawing. In all, up to 50 people can collaborate on one document, which leaves this as an even greater tool for educators and students.
These are just a few of the new features. Mashable had a great writeup on the new features, which you can read here. Also, you can sign in to a Google account (they're free) and play around. There will also be a summer inservice on various Google tools this summer on August 4 from 8 AM - 11 AM and again on August 11 from 12 PM - 3 PM.