How to use Revision History in Google Docs

This short video explains how to use Revision History in Google Docs to increase the engagement and motivation of your students.


0:35 Revision History in Google Doc

1:10 Different colors are associated with different users

2:22 Retrieval of work done

2:47 Accountability of work


Revision History in Google Docs is great for increasing engagement and motivation. [Click To Tweet]


Hi, this is Mike Reading from and Google Education Community. In today’s short video I’m going to show you how we use revision history to track students work and increase their engagement.

So I’m just going to open up a Google doc that I used yesterday as I was demonstrating Google to some teachers in Wellington. And in this doc there hasn’t been a lot of work. We’re just using it as a basic demonstration doc. If I go up here to file and then click on see revision history you will see on the right hand side of your page the revision history box will open and you will have a time stamped screen capture of all of the work that’s been happening.

Now the frequency of this screen capture is determined by how active people are in the document. So if you’ve got lots of people writing lots in the document the screen capture might happen every five seconds or so. If there’s not much work going on then it might be thirty seconds to a minute, half an hour, depends on how active you are.

So if I just come back down here to this particular time when people were starting to write in the document, if you have a look here you’ll see that half of the word Christa is in a green column, we’ve got Clare in red, we’ve also got Clare, which has been deleted and we can tell that’s that been deleted because there’s a line through it and there’s different colours associated.

Now what those colours are connected to is the user names of the teachers that we use in this document. So I can see here that this color green actually relates to this teacher just here, that the Clare here in red is related to this teacher just here and that the orange would be Dave here.

So you can see that Dave actually deleted Clare’s name and then he actually wrote his name down here again. So the different colours are associated with different users.

The other way that we use this is that we can say to our students that we want you to work consistently on this task and so I could come through this document and see whose worked and when they’ve worked and how consistently they’ve worked in that document. So it’s really good for being on track consistently.

The other way that we use this is that if a student is doing some work and all of a sudden in one part of the revision history all of this work just appears you’re able to go back and ask your students, where did that work come from. Have they just copied and pasted it? Have they written it in another program and maybe pasted it in? Whatever the case might be you at least would ask them the questions around that.

The last way that we use this is if the students are doing group work one of the things that you want to do is make sure that each student is being accountable for the work that they’re meant to produce. With revision history inside your Google doc what you can do is you can make sure that Christa is going to write, the writing will be her color, Clare will work, and it will be in her color and so on. So you’re able to see who’s contributed to the group learning and be able to hold them accountable for their work as well.

So hopefully that’s been a help to you. We love revision history. It’s a great feature and we encourage you to use it with your students to show them that even if they write things inappropriately we’ll be able to track that as well. So it’s great for classroom behaviour. It’s great for engagement and increasing motivation.

If you have any questions about how you can use the features, Google docs, to increase the engagement and motivation of your students be sure just to leave us a comment in the comment section below wherever you’re watching this video or listening to this audio and we’ll be able to answer those questions for you.

You might also want to share how you’re using Google docs to increase the engagement of your students. If that’s the case just leave us a comment and we’d love to read how you’re using Google.

And one last thing, if you’d like to receive regular updates about how you can use Google Apps for Education then you can either head over to our blog or head over to our YouTube channel, which is Thanks for watching.

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