I have highlighted some of the features of Google Drive, specifically ways that teachers can use it in their classrooms and departments.
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service provided by Google, released on April 24, 2012, which enables user cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing. Rumors about Google Drive began circulating as early as March 2006. Files shared publicly on Google Drive can be searched with web search engines.
Google Drive is the home of Google Docs, an office suite of productivity applications, that offer collaborative editing on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.
Google Drive is “Cloud Computing,” which means it is on-demand, the information is available whenever you need it, and because your data is backed up on servers and in several places it is very unlikely that you will lose your stuff. Google Drive’s file storage service is also viewed as a direct competitor to Dropbox.
Google Drive is found at http://drive.google.com and requires a Google Account to create documents.
Google Docs is the Microsoft Word equivalent of the Google Programs. It may not have all of the fonts and styles that Word has but it is a great writing tool for many reasons. Google Docs allows you to quickly share your documents with anyone (read-only or editing access) and they are accessible from anywhere there is internet.
Here are some ways you could imagine using Google Docs:
- Collaborate on lesson planning or collaborative inquiry with teachers
- Keep a running record of meeting minutes
- Lesson-plan depository for your department to help new teachers (set up a folder for each class / grade)
- Have students work collaboratively (keep them accountable with revision history)
- Give ongoing feedback to student writing done in Google Docs
- Research while writing a document (Tools > Research)
- Upload an existing Word Doc to Google Drive to make it into a collaborative document.
Sheets is the Microsoft Excel from Google. If you are familiar with Excel, many of the same commands will work in Sheets.
Here are some ways to use Sheets:
- Coordinate sign-ups for student presentations (use revision history to keep them honest)
- Sign-up sheet for teachers to access resources (ex. iPads, math manipulatives, book club novels)
Because Sheets is integrated with Forms for many of its popular uses, I’ll talk about the two together.
Here is a sheet for us to play with for a moment.
Forms is my favourite tool in Google Drive. It deserves its own post and workshop. Anything that is submitted through a form automatically populates a spreadsheet. For formative assessment this is fantastic because we can sort by name and see how a student is progressing over time. A few highlights:
- Ticket out the door
- Pre-assessment at the beginning of the class
- “Get to know you” survey at the beginning of the year
- Track student behaviour – keep track of discipline over time
- Hall Pass – have students quickly fill out the form before they leave the classroom so you know where they are
- Assignment submission page (have a field for students to submit the link to their Google Doc)
- Workshop/Event registration
Slides is a no-frills cousin of Powerpoint. You can’t really do animations and transitions but as a basic informational slideshow it does the trick. Like the other Google tools, it is collaborative and available anywhere you have internet.
- Collaborate on a workshop or professional development slideshow
- Have students make Google Slides instead of PowerPoint (takes away excuses of lost work, revision history for accountability)
Watch this insane presentation created with Google Slides. The animation is done “frame-by-frame” in 450 slides:
Here is a sheet for us to play with today.
- Google Drawings allow you to make simple drawings collaboratively (think Microsoft Paint)
- Google Drive is a cloud storage service too, much like Dropbox. Upload any file to Google Drive. You will be able to convert standard text documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
- Google URL Shortener http://goo.gl. This shortens the URL so it is very easy to access especially on a mobile device.