I am a middle school band director. I teach nearly 300 students each dayand have communication with them and their parents - nearly 1000 people inall. With Google Docs, my program has reduced its paper use by as much as 90%.Instead of using hard copies, thousands of times over, we can now set everything up to work online with documents, forms, and spreadsheets. Previously parents had multiple pieces of paper for certain functions. We can now eliminate these by using separate online forms. Rather than going through so many pieces of paper, parents can now just click the next link.Most recently we have used spreadsheets forms to collect orders for an annual project, a professionally recorded CD of our students' performances, available for purchase. Our greatest goal is simply to pay for the cost of producing the CD, but we do also hope to raise additional funds to support music activities for families that cannot afford them on their own (instrument rental, equipment purchases, cost of band trips, etc.). Parents can now log onto the band website and enter their orders into the online form which dumps right into the Google Docs spreadsheet.In the past I would spend hours sitting at the computer entering information from paper forms that kids brought in order to keep proper record of orders and money (as required by the state). Now I only have to match check numbers and amounts to what is already entered in the spreadsheet.Perhaps the best part is that I can share the document with our treasurer and my team teacher so that we can collaborate and error check. Previously, I would have to print off hard copies of everything and then go through it line by line to proof. Now, since I have my spreadsheet formulas in place to do all the math for me, it is a simple matter of sharing the doc with another person to examine areas of concern.
Google Docs "cuts" both ways -- it cuts many hours off of the time needed to compile this information, and it cuts reams of paper from our materials cost.Inspired by Matt's story? Tell us how you're celebrating Earth Day, with Google Docs or otherwise, on Google's Earth Day '08 site.