Last week, I wrote about the improved/updated version of Google Docs presentations that is available now for interested individuals. Google Docs is, of course, a great alternative to Microsoft Office.  I know that some schools have considered Google Docs specifically as a financial release to Microsoft Office.

But I have found it to be a great companion to Microsoft Office, too.  For me, this has been particularly true with collaboration among colleagues and students.  For example, a couple of weeks ago , our students, alumni, and I presented at the Midsouth Technology Conference here in town.  A couple of the presentations required input from up to 8 or so folks, such as the “60 Apps in 60 minutes” presentation.  In preparing our presentations, the students and alumni were able to contribute to the presentation individual slides, and the slides stayed in one place.  Then at the end, I downloaded the slides to Microsoft Powerpoint — just in case the network was questionable at the site.  I do find it super helpful to create slides with directions on them for students about how to contribute to the presentation.  For example in this presentation, I asked students to duplicate my template (and how to do that). I also suggested how they should prepare each slide with a screen shot.

In another presentations for “How Schools Are Doing Mobile,” I provided some scaffolding for novice researchers who would be presenting to practitioners and how I thought we should structure the presentation in order to be most audience-centered.  (I also provided some tips on how to craft a meaningful presentation, too.)

As I mentioned in my post about the updated Google Docs presentations, I found that the updated Google Docs translated/exported to Microsoft Powerpoint better than before.  So, the slides for “How Schools Are Doing Mobile” from inside Google Docs presentations (like the slide just above) were easily converted to another Powerpoint template to make them “prettier,” like below.

Are you finding that Google Docs is working as a companion to Microsoft Office or in competition?  What other examples can you share of either way?  Also, are there other tools that you’re using either as a companion to Microsoft Office or as a replacement?

About Michael M Grant

Dr. Michael M. Grant is a passionate professor, researcher, and consultant. He works with faculty members, schools and universities, and districts to integrate technology meaningfully and improve teaching and learning. When 140 characters just won't work, then he blogs here at He has a beautiful wife and three equally beautiful daughters, who will change the world.

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