• Web-based Career & Technical Education

How Google Docs Helps Foster 21st Century Learning Skills

June 6th, 2018 Mike Gecawich

Ten years ago, smartphones were still in their infancy.

Today, over 77% of American adults own a smartphone. And for many of us, we can’t imagine life without it.

How did we check the weather, look up directions, or hail a cab in the pre-smartphone years?

Believe it or not, there’s another relatively recent invention that some would argue has had an equally important impact on how people get work done.

This life-changing product? Google Drive.

More and more schools, universities, and workplaces are shifting towards using Google Docs and Sheets as opposed to traditional word processing programs.

Apart from being useful tools to know, these platforms also help promote coveted soft skills we want students to have.

Not convinced? Read on to find out more.


The thought of collaborating with a group on a Microsoft Office document feels almost as ridiculous as trying to collaborate using typewriters.

If there’s one thing that makes Google Drive the word processor of the 21st century it’s the ability for collaboration.

A group of students can create, share, edit, and comment on one shared document all in real time.

This opens the doors for more complex group projects and is also a great teachable moment for giving students practice navigating effective collaboration and efficient teamwork.


With Google Docs, it’s incredibly easy for students and teachers alike to give feedback on work.

Typed or verbal comments are easy to give, share, and respond to.

With this newfound ability to give feedback, though, comes a need for knowing how to give and take constructive criticism.

As they learn the ins and outs of leaving and responding to comments, students will hone their skills of knowing what makes feedback useful and how to take constructive feedback in stride – two skills that are incredibly valuable in the workplace.

Tech Literacy

Google Drive’s popularity is part of a larger tech movement towards cloud-based storage.

More and more, documents don’t live on one computer but are accessible from any computer.

For anyone who’s unfamiliar with “the cloud”, this can be a confusing idea.

As relatively new tech users, it’s essential that students internalize this aspect of tech literacy at an early age.

The more they understand clouds now, the more they’ll be ready to grasp new tech trends that have yet to take off.

Problem Solving

Google Drive is a perfect platform for learning to “teach oneself”.

The product is regularly evolving and adding new features. As such, the only real way to keep up is to be proactive about teaching oneself.

Additionally, there are dozens of useful Google Drive add-ons that allow users to take the program well beyond the limitations of a traditional word processor.

In order to use these higher level tools, students will need to try their hand at troubleshooting and figuring things out as they go.

In time, students will be able to apply these problem-solving skills to other professional tasks as well.

Making the Move to Google Drive

Ready to bring your students into the 21st century of word processing but aren’t sure where to start?

Consider having your students complete iAcademy’s course The Google Docs Specialist to learn the basics.

Through 37 interactive lessons, students will take on the role of a Google Apps specialist in a real business environment.

As such, they’ll learn the basics of Google Docs but also Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms.

And beyond just learning to navigate these tools, your students will also build valuable 21st-century learning skills that employers can’t wait to get their hands on.


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