Nov 27, 2013

Tech Snack: Google Drive

This week's After School Tech Snack topic is my new favorite classroom tool: Google Drive. Drive is a part of Google Apps for Education, and it is essentially cloud based office software and storage location.  All GTSD students and staff have a Google Apps account, regardless of whether or not email has been enabled.

Store: Google Drive allows up to 30gb of cloud storage. Nearly any type of file can be uploaded and shared. This includes Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, video files, images, and of course, Google Docs (which don't count toward the 30gb total). Drive can convert Office documents to Docs format, or they can be viewed, printed and shared as formatted.

Share: If it is in your Google Drive, you can share it with others. The default for all new documents and files is Private. From there you can choose to share with the entire web, those with the link, only GTSD with the link, GTSD groups, or individuals.  There are three types of permissions when sharing: view (read only), comment (post comments), or edit (can add or edit content, post comments, and share with others).

Create: There are 5 basic tools included with each Google Drive account. It is possible to add more through Drive integrated Apps through the Chrome Store.

  • Document: A simple word processor that has the basic features most students will need. As students work independently or collaboratively, you can see each keystroke, comment on writing, provide feedback on research
  • Spreadsheet: A basic spreadsheet program that allows your students to collect and analyze data together.
  • Presentation: A more basic, but still feature rich, version presentation (think PowerPoint) program. Students can truly collaborate on a presentation, or you can publish class notes by embedding the presentation to your wiki page.
  • Forms: Consider this a tool for quick assessments, class surveys, or wiki check-ins.
  • Drawing: A very basic graphic creator, includes the ability to design text boxes, images, word art, lines and shapes.

Tips for Success

  • Be specific about file names, this makes it easier to sort and organize many files at once.
  • Make "turning in" (share) the first step, thus preventing students from forgetting to turn in their work.
  • Share a template with the class, have students save a copy, then share the personalized version with you.
  • Provide feedback promptly, either as a document or in-line comment.
  • Create and use folders to organize your documents and files. Create a folder for each assignment, download the entire folder as a PDF to save for student portfolios.

Visit Google Drive Help for more information or troubleshooting assistance. GTSD staff are invited to contact Mrs. Bond with any questions about Google Drive or Google Apps.