Its been an interesting week for me because I have experienced the use of Google Docs in three ways.
The first was where I merely "used" a document created by a fellow attendee at a conference. By used I simply allow my colleague to "keep notes" in his document which I cold then walk away with at the end of the day. Quite handy really as I was engaged in lively (and related) twitter discussion throughout the day. Not too obvious that upon reflection I noted that (a) this was somewhat selfish and lazy on my part and that (b) this defeated the purpose of why the owner created the document.
My second experience was where such a document was created and an invitation was sent to all connected participants at the session to contribute to the document. During this session I was happily adding pieces of information into the document, making edits and conrtibutng with my own thoughts/comments about what we were doing.
My third experience was where I created the document and invited others to contribute. My invitation was sent by Twitter and a number of people in the room contributed - summarising the speakers' thoughts and adding personal opinions. Links to appropriate web sites were supplied by others and to my amazement contributions to this document were made my someone following me on Twitter but not even attending the presentation.
WOW - talk about drawing on the collective wisdom of people!
It got me thinking of how this could be used in a classroom - particularly where I have students engaged in group work. Rather than sending emails to each other, or chatting or one person being responsible for putting together a document, ALL members of the group could contribute.
So why not just use a Wiki?
The big advantage is these docs can be saved simply as a standard "doc" file or 'pdf" and then incorporated into other work or kept by a student on their personal computing device where they can access it even when they don't have access to the "net".
Or conversely the group document can easily be accessed by anyone with appropriate access from the "net".
I also have a Google Presentation document that I have created for collecting what I see as relevant 21st Century Learning quotes. This was MY collection that I was gathering until I realised that if I SHARE this work and allow others to contribute and use the document then it has a greater chance of reaching my initial concept.
Together we can share the load.