I guess that I knew about OpenOffice in the back of my mind, but had kinda overlooked it because I have MSOffice at work and at home. But this will be great for my students who only have MSWorks on their home computers and find that their .wps documents won't print at school, as well as for those who have Vista-based MSWord at home and find that their .docx documents won't print at school. Definitely more full-featured than Works. I can see burning a few CDs of OpenOffice to keep at the circulation desk to send home with students who don't have the online access to download it.
And the collaboratability (is that a real word?) of GoogleDocs is just what I want to promote for our students who are doing group PowerPoint projects (and wind up not being able to work on their project when one person is absent because the ppt is on that one's school account). Being able to get to your docs from any web-on computer is great for those of us on multiple computers each day. Another plus is not having to download any software. A drawback is the potential for not having access to your docs when there are internet difficulties, versus having them saved on your own computer when the Net is out.
On either OpenOffice or GoogleDocs, we may get some flak at school because our BCIS classes teach the Microsoft products. I hope that the clarity of having a single version available (as opposed to the older version in the Library and newer MSOffice in the computer classrooms) and being able to work together in realtime-realspace (like in the real world of today's workplace) would override that concern.
hmmm....let's try shared GoogleNotebooks for gathering up information and sites, GoogleDocs-Presentation for putting together the group project... sounds like a winning combination - as long as we can access them at school! We will see in August.