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The Importance of Record Keeping in Teaching and How Google Docs Can Help

It's easy for anyone that's new in the field of education to underestimate the importance of record keeping in teaching. However, while keeping good records can take a lot of work and effort up front, it will save you a great deal of time and work in years to come.

These days, it's important for teachers to learn how to incorporate online tools and services into classroom management. With budget cutbacks commonplace at most educational institutions, using free services like Google Docs can go a long way toward enhancing a teacher's ability to handle a heavy educational workload, while keeping costs low.

Google Docs is a great tool for classroom record keeping, because it supports a variety of document types, and for the advanced user it even lets you automate many tasks that would otherwise be time consuming and tedious.

Google Docs can become a great replacement for expensive academic record keeping software, and it's even better than software, because as an online application it lets you access those records from just about anywhere that you have Internet access.

Academic Record Keeping With Google Docs

How is it possible to keep your records stored on the "cloud"? This is made possible due to the fact that Google Docs is now integrated with Google Drive. This means that not only can you create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online with Google Docs, but the Google Drive feature also lets you actually upload and store files from your computer onto your online Google Drive account.

This makes it extremely easy to store student records, essays and other documents in an online location that you can access from anywhere. Imagine how easy it would be to grade a student essay if you have students submit the document using Google Docs, so that you can grade it when you're ready from anywhere that you can get on the Internet.

importance of record keeping in teaching
Record Keeping in Google Docs

Google docs isn't limited to just Word documents, you can create all sorts of documents including presentations for your classroom, spreadsheets for student records and other information, documents for tests and essays, forms that can form online tests for students, and much more.

Using spreadsheets is the best way to keep track of student records from year to year. For example, for each class that you teach, you can use a spreadsheet to track student grades for every test and assignment.

importance of record keeping in teaching
Using Spreadsheets to Store Information

Since you can create as many spreadsheets as you want, you can have one spreadsheet per class, and you can even keep these from year to year in your Google Drive account for long term student record storage.

Another excellent use for Google Docs is creating tests from the "Forms" tool. The quiz tool is very flexible, and lets you define questions, tips for each question, and a list of all possible answers as well as the correct one.

academic record keeping software
Using Forms to Create Quizzes

You can have as many questions as you want on your test, and you can share these quizzes to the students, so that they can take the quiz right online. Google Docs will actually monitor and record all of the results in a convenient spreadsheet for you.

While you're creating your quiz, you can quickly switch over to preview mode so that you can see how the quiz will look like to your students.

academic record keeping software
See Form Preview

Any time you like, you can check your student responses in the summary or spreadsheet formats.

importance of record keeping in teaching
Summary and Spreadsheet Answer Results

What makes this tool especially useful for teachers is that you can choose from a wide range of quiz types, including multiple choice, list format, checkboxes and much more.

academic record keeping software
Different Types of Quizzes

Best of all, whenever you create a new quiz, it becomes a part of your permanent collection of records so that you can use the same test year after year. This can save you a lot of time moving forward, and whenever you want to add new material to the quiz, all you have to do is edit the quiz and save the new version.

Other records that you can create as part of your stored classroom curriculum are presentations that you'll need to use from year to year. With Google Docs, you can create presentations that look good and are very easy to build, even if you have very little experience creating presentations.

record keeping for teachers
Creating Classroom Presentations

Another feature of Google Docs is the ability to create drawings as well. By using drawings, you can create presentation material for your students. Such drawings can supplement instructional documents or presentations.

record keeping for teachers
Creating Classroom Presentations

Drawings can better explain a concept that is hard to put into words. They also make more complex subject matter easier for students to understand. It's always a good idea to supplement your lessons with such drawings.

Thanks to the fact that Google Drive is now integrated with Google Docs, you can also upload files and folders from your own computer. This lets you upload actual student records that you might be storing on your hard drive or on a USB memory stick.

record keeping for teachers
Creating Classroom Presentations

By uploading those records to your Google Drive account, you can access them anywhere, without the need to carry around a laptop or a memory stick.

The nice thing about the "Fusion Tables" area of Google Docs is that there's an entire community of other users and educators that have created useful instructional tables for their own classroom, and have shared those tables with the Google Docs community.

importance of record keeping in teaching
Fusion Tables Created By Others

This means that you can search the Tables section of Google Docs for those publicly available tables, and use whatever tables you feel would be useful in your own classroom.

As you can see, Google Docs is one of the best record-keeping solutions for an educator. Not only can you create new documents and records that you can use year after year, but you can upload existing records to your Google Drive account and make sure that you'll have all of those records available year after year.

Written December 3, 2012 by Ryan Dube


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