Two years ago, I had heard of Google documents but was too “busy” to learn it and certainly too busy to use it. However, I was put in a position that required me to introduce myself to this technology; so I jumped in, head first.
What is this “Google Drive”? It is a cloud based storage for documents, files, powerpoint, and many, many other types of files. This virtually means you can access it on any device that connects to the internet and the files are not stored on your device, consuming important memory, having to lug around a laptop, finding the right thumb drive, or clogging up your email. Google allows you to share any document with anyone without having to email, so much easier. Setting up a Google account is very quick and painless as you can see from this video.
How I use Google professionally.
We all have a plethora of extra time for another meeting, right? Google Drive helps you save time. Frequently, I collaborate with my colleagues, but we don’t have time to physically meet face to face. In order to complete projects and other assignments, we create a document, share it and we can all be working on it at our leisure or at the same time. Here is an example of how to collaborate on a document avoiding email. Considering we share folders through Google, I am no longer emailing documents to my colleagues. That perpetual list item, “clean-up email” is now gone for me!
Using this tool as a teaching strategy.
In workshops as well as in the classroom, by using Google Drive, you will be able go go virtually paperless. In my workshops I share folders with participants where they can pull up materials, take notes and have access to these documents forever by accessing their Google Drive. I use the Google slides ( PowerPoint) so I’m not carrying around 37 thumb drives or lugging my heavy laptop around. Similarly, any classroom teacher could create class work at home and access it from school, without having to email. Teachers can collaborate on assignments, without that constant emailing back and forth. Students can collaboratively write or prepare a presentation. A teacher can create a self-grading quiz or test (YES, I said self-grading!) Have you ever had a student say, “I would love to turn in my paper, but you see, my computer crashed and my paper didn’t save!” Well, an interesting tidbit of information is that Google updates constantly so work will never be lost. Classroom applications for Google are endless! Here is a list of ways to utilize Google Drive in any classroom.
Why is this important for our students?
Ok, if I still have not convinced you that learning Google Drive is essential, what if you never taught your students how to hold a pencil, pen or any writing instrument? Would they be at a disadvantage entering adulthood? Would it impact their ability to get a job? Enter college? Google Drive and other similar cloud base storage and sharing systems are all that are used on College campuses (no more paper) and as of June 2014, Google Drive has 190 million users and is is used by 58% of the fortune 500 Companies (Kokalitcheva). When my boys returned from their first few weeks of college, I asked them “What has been the biggest change between high school and college?” Their response was profound, “I wish I had used Google Drive in High School where the teachers had time and wanted to teach us. We have to use Google for everything and everyone at college assumes we know, we don’t!”
Kia Kokalitcheva (25 June 2014). "Google Drive now has 190M users & a brand new tablet app for presentations". VentureBeat.
About the Author: Marcy Sweetman is a member of the IES Team as a Staff Development Specialist and Curriculum Coordinator for both the North Collins CSD and Westfield CSD. Her major work focuses on Social Studies, literacy across the content areas, and technology integration. Be looking for upcoming Introduction to Google Hangouts and Apps workshops facilitated by Marcy.