Hey Lia — How Do You Google?

Lia Daniels is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes her life.

The "How Do You Google" articles are part of an ongoing series called Between U and G. 

Lia Daniels is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. She designs and teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses on all sorts of content, including child development, achievement motivation, and classroom assessment.

Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes her life.

Q: What does an average workday look like for you?
A: Not average. My days look different — it depends on what tasks are at hand that day. I teach, I research, and I do service. Educational psychology is a really lovely mishmash of applied psychology. In the undergraduate program, we teach things like child and adolescent development or classroom assessment to people who want to be future teachers. And our graduate program is really diverse: we deal with people who want to be school or clinical child psychologists, school counsellors, people who are coming back to becoming specialists in special education, or teaching ESL. It’s highly applied psychology.

Q: How do you use Google in your role?
A: I use Google for anything that is collaborative, and almost everything I do is collaborative. So I use Google for everything. Whether it’s teaching, research, or service, I find a home for Google in each of those spaces. For example, I rarely use any type of pre-prepared PowerPoint anymore. I’ll load some information on Google Slides and then go to class, where we’ll collaborate and populate all that learning together. It involves everybody, and it allows that learning to happen live instead of pre-canned.

Q: What is your favourite way to use Google?
A: The thing I love the most is when I’m teaching a course and we’re collaboratively creating lecture slides or collaboratively taking notes, and you can see everybody contributing and building the learning. That’s one of my favourite moments, when you get all these coloured cursors together on the same document and you know you’re going somewhere.

Q: How has using Google changed the way you work?
A: I always have the most up-to-date everything. I have a lot of graduate students, a lot of undergrad volunteers, a lot of people coming and going in my spaces, so it’s very valuable to know when they last accessed a document. Having the most recent version of a document and seeing timestamps for everyone who accessed it is the biggest improvement.

Q: What Google app could you not live without and why?
A: Google Docs. I could make do using PowerPoint, I could make do using Excel, but Google Docs is something I could not give up.

Q: If you were a Google app, which one would you be and why?
A: I would be a Google Form because I am always asking questions.

Q: When you first started using Google, what surprised you over other applications?
A: I had a little bit of nervousness at first over not having to hit save. But once you get over that, the fact that everything it exactly what it’s supposed to be everywhere that you go, and the ability to invite people in to participate in creating that… that was different. I hadn’t existed in that sort of 2.0 space, and I think that was a game changer.

Q: If you were introducing someone to G Suite, what tips would you give them?
A: You don’t have to save. Just trust that your work is there and step back from that initial fear. I would also suggest to know what it is you want to do and then not worry about the rest of it. If you’re trying to collaborate with someone, or write a paper, just give it a go. You’re not going to break it. Whatever you need it to do, it can do.

Who do you know that’s doing something cool with Google on campus? Send their info to istcomms@ualberta.ca and they might be featured in an upcoming article! Until then, check out Information Services & Technology’s (IST) latest Google news.